Yes, we know you’re hungry now, but imagine how Chef Carol Koty feels. She’s the Kitchen Supervisor at The Waterview in Monroe, Connecticut who first started as a part-time seasonal kitchen intern. You could say 27-year-old Koty has a P(ork)hD. That’s because she won the right to represent Connecticut in the Bacon World Championship. To get the honor to represent our state, Koty had to enter the #FoodChamp Challenge. Her winning dish was the (you ready?) Spicy Bacon and Corn Stuffing, prepared with grilled sweet corn, caramelized onions, garlic, jalapeno, crusty Italian bread, and (of course) hickory smoked bacon. Wouldn’t you love that recipe? Well, let’s just say that Chef Koty has given it to us and it’s at the end of this post!
While that Spicy Bacon and Corn Stuffing sounds amazing, Chef Koty has so much more up her bacon-stained sleeves…and she better. At the Bacon World Championship that runs from November 7 – 10 in Las Vegas, she is up against 49 other talented chefs who are skilled with slinging swine. When the competition begins, she’ll need to create two dishes for the first round: the Signature Dish and Structured Build. The Signature Dish can be nearly anything, but must feature bacon, while the Structured Build forces all competitors to follow the same guidelines in creating a casserole that features bacon.
Chef Koty’s signature dish is her Triple Bacon Polish Pierogies that are stuffed with bacon, wrapped in bacon, then topped with bacon. Oh dear God! But, the stuffing doesn’t include just bacon. You’ll also find a buttery mashed potato filling with chives, caramelized onions, and St. Andre Triple Cream Cheese. She even handmakes the pierogi dough with “powdered” bacon…made by crisping bacon, then pureeing it until it is a fine powder. She finishes off the dish by boiling the pierogies, then frying them in bacon fat then topping it off with a bacon herb sour cream.
Her Structured Build, though, is a work in progress. She will either be recreating her winning Spicy Bacon and Corn Stuffing or a brand new dish: Clams Casino Casserole. This recipe includes garlic, onions, red and green peppers, fresh clams, bacon, and toasted bread. Sticking to using the best ingredients, Chef Koty will only prepare this if she’s able to use fresh and local clams. So, as long as these will be available in Vegas, she’ll most likely be creating this dish.
When this round is over, the Top 10 competitors will be announced and will have to make a dish that highlights both bacon and duck. Her plan is to create a dish that plays off a typical New England harvest. She’ll be creating a creamy bacon risotto that’s finished off with Parmesan and she plans to show off duck in two ways. One way is to create a cardamom and coffee spiced duck breast and the other way is to bake up a bacon wrapped duck leg. The duck and risotto will be served up with a spicy roasted veggie medely of butternut squash, sweet potato, parsnip, cranberry, and pecans that are topped with a bacon chutney sauce.
When we asked Chef Koty about this complete whirwind experience of competing, she shared:
“I am beyond excited to be competing in November! I am constantly coming up with ways to tweak the flavors and presentations of my dishes so that they will be absolutely perfect when I submit them to the judges. I am very confident in my dishes and my abilities. I know that I can win this! Once I am behind that stove, the food will speak for itself. I want to come home with the title of Bacon World Champion: for myself, for my family and friends that have been supporting me through every step, and for the Connecticut community. We are not typically known nationally as a foodie state, but we definitely should be!”
Spicy Bacon and Corn Stuffing
A delicious twist on stuffing with lots of smoky bacon flavor that will be an amazing side dish to your favorite poultry! The recipe makes about 6 – 1 cup servings.
-1 small loaf, about four cups, Italian bread (or any crusty white bread), cut into 1 in. cubes
-2 Tbsp. salted butter
-1 pound hickory smoked bacon, cut into lardons
-3 cups white onion, cut into ½ in. dice
-6 Tbsp. fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced
-4 Tbsp. garlic, minced
-4 ears fresh corn on the cob
-4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced with stems removed
-1-2 pints chicken stock, boiling
-Salt and pepper, to taste
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2) Spread cubed bread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Toast for 10 minutes.
3) Shuck the corn, removing the husk and silk. Grill the corn over high heat, about 2 minutes per side, until the corn is just starting to char. Cut the corn off of the cob using a sharp knife.
4) In a large pot, cook the bacon in the butter until crispy. Do not drain the fat.
5) Add the onions. Cook until translucent.
6) Add the jalapeno and garlic. Continue to cook another 4 to 5 minutes to release the flavor.
7) Add the corn, cilantro, and toasted bread. Stir to combine. Pour in the boiling chicken stock, adding ¼ cup at a time until the stuffing reaches the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
8) Spread the stuffing into a baking pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 350°F until the top is crispy. Serve immediately.