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Turkey Chili wins big to become newest menu item at Devils games

by Gordy Stillman / New Jersey Devils
Mr. Sawdust, Kurt Alstede, Kristen Heigl, Barbara Alstede and N.J. Devil wave to the camera and fans at Prudential Center after Heigl won the Alstede Farms Recipe Contest at Prudential Center. Heigl's recipe was the winning selection by a panel of judges and fans. Photo by Courtney Gfroerer

Turkey chili will become the newest dish at Devils games after being the winner of the first Alstede Farms Recipe Contest at Prudential Center. Before the Devils took on the Islanders in front of a full house at The Rock, a panel of judges and fans selected the winning dish from among four finalists.

Contestants had to use three key ingredients—avocado, onion and tomato— but otherwise had the freedom to be as creative as they could be. Some contestants took inspiration from food already at Prudential Center, such as a slider, while others creativity included names like the “Brodeur Burger.”

Thanks to the fan vote, the big winner was the Southwestern Turkey Kielbasa Chili. The recipe was prepared by Kristen Heigl, a substitute teacher from Staten Island. She came up with the idea as a new variation on chili, saying she likes to incorporate different flavors and spice mixtures into the dish. In this case, Heigl incorporated onions and tomato into the base of the chili, and mixed in diced avocado as a garnish. The chili also calls for black beans, corn and various spices to create the dish.

Beyond the fans, judging the dishes was a panel of eaters including Devils two-time Stanley Cup champion Colin White, Alstede Farms’ Barbara Alstede, Legends sous chef Erika Dabney, Z100’s Garrett Vogel, producer of Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, and Alstede Farms culinary specialist Jennifer Borealo.

The Judges collectively made up 80 percent of the vote, with the rest of the voting done by fans in attendance at the game. With the judges divided between burger and chili dishes, and the fifth vote going to a chicken slider, the fan vote became the deciding factor.

One of the chili’s biggest fans was White. “I’m a chili guy, and it was good,” he said. “Everything mixed really well, and I loved the big chunks of avocado on top.”

Dabney was also a fan of the chili, describing it as light while bold in flavor. “It was a little healthier take on your regular chili.”

The sous chef with Legends also said she was surprised by the recipes. “You just don’t expect people to be so creative with the ingredients,” she said, explaining that as a chef, she was pleasantly surprised by the complexity of the entries. “Everything was different.”

Nick Marra, a finalist from Randolph, described the contest as similar to the Food Network show, “Chopped,” but joked “the ingredients are not gummy bears and maple syrup.” Marra presented a chicken slider, topped with guacamole and pico de gallo.

The turkey chili will debut at The Giving Table, outside of Section 4, during Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. The chili will be available at Prudential Center for the rest of the season.

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