Chili at winter market

Feb. 09, 2014 @ 11:19 AM

At the South Durham Farmers’ Market, we are dedicating the month of February to the belly-warming bowl of chili. It has been an especially cold winter thus far, but each Saturday at market, we will have a guest chef serving shoppers a fiery taste of their own favorite chili recipe.

This past weekend, we were lucky to be visited by Seth Gross of Bull City Burger and Brewery (BCBB). He brought their Texas-style all beef chili, winner of the 2012 Bull City Chili Challenge in the Restaurant Division. (I learned that the Texas style chili is distinct from other varieties for its lack of beans.) The zesty chili was made from all local and pasture-raised beef, just like all of the burgers and hot dogs at his restaurant.

By the time this article is in print, we will also have been visited by trained chef and SDFM volunteer extraordinaire, Derek Treuer. Treuer specializes in vegan cooking, and he has conducted several cooking demonstrations at the market already, including sweet potato latkes and teriyaki radicchio and bok choy. For his next market project, he will be chairing the new SDFM Community Cooking Club. The club is for anyone who loves to learn, cook with the seasons and share good food. (If you are interested in joining, please email: manager@southdurhamfarmersmarket.org)

For the last two weekends in February, Elizabeth Turnbull of the Old Havana Sandwich Shop and Brendan Cox of Oakleaf will also come to share their own adaptations of the classic. While chili is not a Cuban dish, Turnbull will be preparing a version that borrows from Cuban culinary traditions and uses the local, pasture-raised pork that is featured so prominently throughout her restaurant’s menu.

Cox will conclude our month-long celebration of the spicy stew on Feb. 22nd with a vegetarian chili using fresh, local ingredients and inspired by the French and Italian influences that permeate his cooking at Oakleaf.

While recent growing conditions have certainly been tough for our farmers, they continue to bring to market a beautiful harvest of produce and fresh herbs, as well as coolers full of humanely raised beef, pork and lamb: all the ingredients needed for a delicious pot of chili. (Later this month, there will even be greenhouse tomatoes available from Brooks Farm.)

To garnish your bowl, you might try the lacto-fermented jalapeños from Two Chicks Farm or the chipotle-garlic chèvre from Prodigal Farm. In the end, the wonderful thing about chili is making it your own and sharing a warm meal with friends and family.

Elizabeth Zander is market manager for the South Durham Farmers’ Market, which in winter is open 9 a.m. noon each Saturday at Greenwood Commons Shopping Center, 5410 NC Highway 55.