The Great Bonac Chili Cook-off

After seven years, the chili hounds will be satiated. Report to the American Legion Hall on Sunday.

The Great Bonac Chili Cook-off is back by popular demand. After a seven year absence, the culinary extravaganza will be held on Sunday, January 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the American Legion Post 419 in Amagansett and will serve as the Clamshell Foundation’s fundraising kickoff and membership drive.

“People still ask when it’s going to happen again,” says Rossetti Perchik, A.I.A., director of the Clamshell Foundation, “Seems like a perfect time of year, being cold, with not much else going on.”

Entrants are asked to bring two gallons of chili, already prepared, with an ingredients list. Warming trays will be provided. Register online ($25 for an individual and $100 for a professional) at clamshellfoundation.org or in person at the American Legion Post 419 at 15 Montauk Highway. Everyone who enters the American Legion on Sunday must sign up to become a Clamshell Foundation member, for free. The cost to eat and vote is $20 per person, $10 for children under 12. To help wash down 32 chili tastings, the bar will be open. A chance to enter a 50/50 raffle might ease any pain, at least for one lucky winner.

The Clamshell Foundation has put $150,000 back into the East End community to date, by way of college scholarships and food donations to local churches, the Retreat, Meals on Wheels and the American Legion. In that way, everyone wins. “People not only get to eat great chili, but it also feels good knowing that all the profits are going to support programs and projects right here on the East End,” says Perchik.

Smokin’ Wolf, Michael’s Restaurant, Indian Wells Tavern, Harbor Grill, Highway Diner and Bar, Springs General Store, Springs and East Hampton fire departments have all signed up. “There’s a real sense of community here,” says Perchik, “It seems like when you put food on the table, everyone’s family.”

Recipe for 2006 Audience Favorite: Sean Sadowski’s Swordfish Chili
Makes 20 portions

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. yellow onions
1 lb. portabella mushrooms
4 lb. swordfish
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. tomato paste
6 tbsp minced fresh garlic
¼ cup hot sauce
1 ½ oz ground cumin seed
3 cans black olives, chopped
1 oz chili powder
¼ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp basil
2 tbsp oregano
(3) 2 lb. cans plum tomatoes
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup chopped fresh dill
2 cans white beans

1. Sear swordfish in a hot pan until just done, set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in soup kettle. Add onions and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
3. Add portabella mushrooms.
4. Add coarsely chopped swordfish.
5. Over low heat, stir in black pepper, tomato paste, garlic, cumin seed, chili powder, mustard, salt, basil, oregano and hot sauce.
6. Add drained tomatoes, lemon juice, lime juice, dill, parsley and drained beans.
7. Stir well and simmer for 30 minutes.
8. Add black olives and simmer another 10 minutes.
9. Serve.

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Kelly Ann Smith lives in East Hampton between Gardiner's Bay and Accabonac Harbor. She's been writing about the East End since 1995. Her weekly column, "A View from Bonac," can be found in the East Hampton Press.