We’ve had a lot of great Iron Chef ingredients in the past. Bacon. Wine. Coffee. But our most recent battle was the ultimate in deliciousness: Iron Chef Chocolate. We’ve been talking about using chocolate as our secret ingredient for a while now, but never did it for some reason. I’m definitely glad we did though! I think it was more of a challenge than people expected (except for those of us who chose desserts). But all of the competitors rose to the occasion and we had a lot of tasty dishes to choose from.
Ok, enough preamble. I know you want to hear about the dishes so let’s go.
We had a few appetizers, starting with Jen’s Salted Chocolate Crostini. She took a simple approach, using high quality ingredients and letting them shine. Toasted baguette topped with a drizzle of olive oil and delicious melted chocolate. What really made this dish though was the salt. Chocolate and salt go so well together and the flavors really popped.
Our next app was the ultimate Iron Chef Chocolate winner: Greta’s Brie Crostini with Chocolate Wine Sauce. She topped them with some thinly sliced almonds. It was a creative combination of flavors and textures that really worked. In fact, we liked it so much that she had to set a few aside for her family to ensure that we didn’t eat them all. Congratulations on the win, Greta!
Then we had Lee’s appetizer, which was pretty clearly cheating. She made a bacon, chocolate lollipop. Let me say that again slowly. Bacon. Chocolate. Lollipop. I mean, if that’s not cheating I don’t know what is. It was delicious! Of course it was. Oh, and the white stuff is white chocolate, not bacon grease. Important distinction.
Next we got into the mains and sides. Kim was the only side dish and she made a Chili-Cocoa Mashed Acorn Squash. And ok, it wasn’t the prettiest dish. But when you looked past its appearance, it really did taste good. The sweet acorn squash was a great, unexpected complement to the chocolate.
Cara made a delicious Cocoa-Crusted Pork Tenderloin. This cut of meat can be difficult to cook fully and not dry out, but Cara’s was nice and juicy thanks to a broth she made. The cocoa flavor really stood out but wasn’t overpowering. And the presentation looked very nice against her white plate.
Shu’s Hamburgers with Chocolate BBQ Sauce were a big hit. She had all the toppings and even made fried onions for some crunch. The BBQ sauce was really tasty, not too sweet and there was just a hint of chocolate. It went well with the burger and I bet would taste great as a steak sauce as well.
Emily’s Sweet Rolls filled with Chocolate inspired a lot of debate. She was originally supposed to make an appetizer but then decided these were more like a side. But once we tasted them we felt they were more like a dessert—a donut actually. The bread was fresh and soft, with slightly warm melty chocolate inside. Whatever category they fit into, they were definitely wonderful. And messy!
We saved Morgan’s drink, the Choc Razz Sorbet, for later in the night since she felt it was too sweet to start the meal. She used whipped chocolate vodka and raspberry liquor plus club soda and a cherry on top! It was really tasty although some of the girls felt like it was a little strong. I finished mine and was still standing. Just sayin’.
Fondue was a fun, interactive choice for dessert and Kristy added some Indian spices to hers for an extra kick. Once she got her fondue pot heating issues out of the way (the ceiling fan was blowing out the flame) Kristy let us dig in. We dipped strawberries, bananas, pound cake and marshmallows and all were great pairs for the chocolate (especially the strawberries, in my opinion).
By the time we got to the last dessert, my Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake, we were all stuffed. I should have named the dish Chocolate Overload Cheesecake because it had a chocolate crust, chocolate filling, chocolate ganache and chocolate curls on top! Nevertheless we all made a little room, and the cheesecake ended up coming in second.
After stuffing ourselves we evidently were on a sugar high since we decided to play a game of Taboo that got pretty contentious. I guess that’s what happens when you get a bunch of competitive ladies together and feed them chocolate. Can’t wait for the next Iron Chef coming sometime this fall. In the meantime, any suggestions for our next “secret” ingredient?