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Friendly competition abounds at annual Iron Chef Victoria

By By Lourdes Vazquez - LVazquez@vicad.com
Nov. 23, 2009 at 5:23 a.m.
Updated Nov. 25, 2009 at 5:25 a.m.

Iron Chef Victoria challenger  Burdge entered Quail Nachos with Chiltipin Glaze.

WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH JALAPENO PISTACHIOS

8 oz. white chocolate, cut into small chunks

1 tsp. New Mexican red chile powder

2 Cups heavy cream

1/2 Cup sifted confectioner's sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 Cup chopped jalapeno pistachios

Sweetened whipped cream

Chopped jalapeño pistachios for garnish

Slowly melt the white chocolate in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool until lukewarm.

While the chocolate is cooling, in a mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Mix in the confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Gently fold about one quarter of the whipped cream into the chocolate, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Stir in the pistachios. Spoon the mousse into individual serving dishes, and chill until ready to serve. If desired, garnish with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a few chopped jalapeno pistachios.

ROBERT BRIGGS

CREAM OF JALAPEÑO SOUP1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

5 Jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded

3/4 Cup finely chopped red onion (about 1/2/ large onion)

3 Cloves garlic, minced

1 Avocado, peeled and diced

2 Cups heavy cream

2 Large tomatoes

1 Bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Mince the jalapeños and set aside. In a large, heavy sauce pan, heat the butter over medium heat.

Add the jalapeños, onions, and garlic, saute, stirring until the vegetables are soft.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the avocados, tomatoes, and cream.

Lower the temperature and return the pan to the heat, watching and stirring so the cream does not separate.

Being the soup slowly back to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes to reduce by one third and to blend the flavors. Be sure to stir the soup occasionally to prevent sticking or scorching.

Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving stir the chopped cilantro leaves into the soup, reserving some for garnish.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with remaining cilantro.

THE CHARITY

$5 of each of the $50 tickets went to the charity of the winner's choice.

Robby Burdge selected the Perpetual Help Home.

Perpetual Help Home is a permanent supported housing program helping women and their children in hardship circumstances. Their situations vary: recent release from prison or jail, serious substance abuse problems, homelessness or domestic violence.

For more information, go to www.perpetualhelphome.com.

NEW IRON CHEF, ROBBY BURDGE'S DISHES

Introduction

This recipe for the peppers was inspired my daughter Casey and perfected by John Welder and Blanche Charkalis.

The sauces I made and the potatoes are a Welder Ranch dish with a jalapeño twist. Blanche made that sweet dessert.

The dish was served with asparagus, peeled, blanched and sauteed in olive oil and garlic and wrapped in a habanero ring.

Also, the scalloped potatoes were sliced, mixed with cream, butter and jalapeños and baked.

The pepper was served with two sauces, a chipotle aioli and a roasted red pepper coulee.

The dessert was White Chocolate Mousse with Jalapeño Pistachios.

CUBANELLE PEPPERS STUFFED WITH CRAB, CHEESE, JALAPEÑO AND PANCO FRIED

Roast, skin and remove seeds from peppers make small slit in pepper for stuffing (you may use Anaheim peppers)

Mix, next 5 ingredients for stuffing

Back fin crab meat

Cream cheese

Salt and pepper

Jalapeño chopped

Worcestershire Sauce

Layer small strip of Gouda cheese on bottom of pepper

Add stuffing

Pull together and cool to allow stuffing to set up

Egg white for wash

Roll in Panco and fry

CHIPOTLE AIOLI 3/4 Cup mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1 Chipotle pepper

1 tsp. Freshly squeezed lime juice

Kosher salt (to taste)

Honey to taste

White pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until everything is incorporated and the aioli is smooth in consistency. Transfer to a squeeze bottle with a small tip and refrigerate.

ROASTED RED PEPPER COULEEHeavy cream

1 Tbsp. honey

1-2 roasted red peppers

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

Kosher salt (to taste)

Coarsely ground black pepper or white pepper (to taste)

Chicken stock

Roast peppers on open fire until black, put in bag, allow to sweat, peel skin. Place in pot, with chicken stock and cover with cream. Boil.

Place peppers in blender and puree add chicken stock, cream and rest of ingredients, blend well and let stand, add more salt, pepper, honey to taste if needed.

The aroma of friendly competition filled the Victoria Country Club on Friday for the third annual Iron Chef Victoria.

The challenger, Robby Burdge, and returning Iron Chef Robert Briggs competed for the title of Iron Chef Victoria.

The competitors were no strangers.

Last year, Burdge attended the event to support Briggs., Burdge joked that the tables had turned.

"Robert challenged me," Burdge said.

The competition was set, on the condition that the event would be a fundraiser for the charity of the winner's choice.

Briggs' charity would be the Billy T. Cattan Recovery Center; while Burdge was cooking for the Perpetual Help Home.

Briggs agreed and preparation began two months ago with the country club's executive chef Matthew Reid.

"They gave me their recipes ahead of time and we purchased the ingredients," Reid said.

When the gong was rung, the competition began.

The secret ingredient - chilies.

Briggs, who works as a part time chef, was assisted by sous chefs Tonja Patterson of Good to the Last Bite Catering and Jerra Lee.

Burdge said that he had no formal training, but enjoyed cooking with his father. His team consisted of John Welder and Blanche Charkalis, co-owner of Greek Bros. Restaurants.

Audience members were able to give their input in the appetizer competition, while Briggs and Burdge prepared their entrees.

"It's so people can have a part and allows for interaction," Reid said of the appetizer event.

They made chilled cucumber pepper soup; crab and avocado chili on Tostitos; and pickled pepper and cream cheese fillo cups.

Forms were placed on each table and the audience savored on which they enjoyed best.

The audience socialized and ate, while Burdge and Briggs prepared their dishes.

"I have never been here before, I think it's just awesome," said Maria Garcia, wife of judge Jamie Garcia.

Judges arrived Friday afternoon. The three-judge panel included executive chefs Jamie Garcia of Rockport, Kevin King of Sugar Land, and Elizabeth Bartee, owner of 5 Star Performance in Missouri City.

A pot of money was placed in front of the judges as a form bribery, Burdge joked.

He placed money in the pot and told audience members to donate for a good a cause.

As time ticked down and it was announced that only five minutes remained in the event, audience members began to crowd around to watch the judges' reactions to the food.

Burdge's first dish, quail nachos with chiltipin glaze, was well liked by Bartee.

"I think it's absolutely delicious," she said.

Although Garcia and King found it lacked warmth.

Judges all agreed they enjoyed Burdge's white chocolate mousse with jalapeño pistachios.

"You didn't even have to bribe me for this," said Garcia after he expressed some discontent on Burdge's second dish, cubanelle peppers.

Briggs presented his dishes. Judges critiqued his jalapeño and lime dish, but his dessert, empanada with Mexican hot chocolate, had judges wanting more.

"The empanada was absolutely wonderful," Bartee said.

During judging, the audience was able to sample some of the items.

"Whoever wins, it's going to be for a great cause," said Dale Jones, 49, of Victoria.

It was Jones' first time to attend the challenge, but said he was supporting both Briggs and Burdge, even though he works with Burdge.

Briggs won the appetizer competition, but the suspense came when it was time to announce the night's big winner.

By a score of 51 to 50, Burdge was named this year's Iron Chef.

A surprise for Burdge.

"I feel good. I'm a little hungry," said Burdge after his victory.

Guests were also able to take part in a buffet featuring the dishes after the competition.

Briggs was still satisfied with the results.

"I think we did all right, we had a very good time," Briggs said.

Plans for next year's Iron chef are already under way.

"He asked me to join his team next year," Briggs said.

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