Oklahomans were offered the option to enter the Oklahoma State Fair Creative Arts section, which is judged entries across various topics by waived fee. State Fairs evolved in an attempt to recognize successes in agriculture, handicrafts, cooking, food preservation and general creativity. The Oklahoma State Fair has been an opportunity to take a break between harvests, and enjoy community and bounty. Nancy Nortz is the administrator of the Creative Arts at the Oklahoma State Fair.
The fee free entry option and expanded categories evolved to encourage more entries and to keep this aspect of the Oklahoma State Fair alive.
Crock Pot Challenge, had Soup and Stew category, Entrees and Desserts. This contest has been in effect for about 5 years. Entrants were obligated to provide a recipe, and to cook, but not prep the recipe on site.
Roughly 30 entrants toted prepped ingredients in various containers to the Creative Arts venue, and plugged in respective pots which then sat in the famed electrified pots and cooked for about 5 hours.
Judging for this contest was by 30 ticket holders, who for 2 dollars purchased a ballot. Each was issued a dinner plate, on which they could harvest samples of the food prepared. Each cook prepared small samples of their fare, and upon distribution were available to answer questions about contents, prep techniques or history of the dish.
Each ballot was marked and returned to a panel of docents managing the contest. Not all ticket holders ate every dish, though they were invited to. One ticket holder noted an allergy and many of the dishes contained the ingredient in question. Some ticket holders never collected a ballot. Therefore not all dishes remarked upon in the resulting paper vote.
Ballots were tallied and a couple of the entrees were under a tie breaker circumstance. Each category showed 5 ribbon winners, and one cash prize of $25 for each category. Two men entered the contest series, and one was one of the winners. His mother also happened to win in another category.
Fresh Pumpkin Stew
2 quart crockpot place 2 cups of reduced homemade chicken stock in the pot, which has been turned on high heat. Add 2 skinned chicken thighs, 2 smashed cloves of garlic, 1/3c chopped small white onion, 2 c cubed pumpkin or butternut squash, 1 c of 2″pieces of haricot vert, 1 c soaked dry chickpeas. Water to cover, and about 1 Tbsp salt.
Cover contents with the lid, and cook undisturbed for 4 hours. At this point, add 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper. Either add one 1 stem of fresh, chopped sage leaves sauteed in butter. Theses should be crisp. Deglaze the pan or dish with stock from the pot and return all contents to the pot. Or simply set a whole stem in the pot. Cook one hour more or until done. Chicken should fall off the bone, and the chickpeas should be al dente.
This serves 4, and freezes well. Pumpkin has a high Vitamin A and C content.