The sweet smell of basil hovered over York Fair's Culinary Corner as former contest winners awaited the outcome of the Challenge of Champions: Entrees competition.
Dorothy Furst of Red Lion tended to her Shrimp Basil Pasta by carefully arranging the aromatic herb in a floral-like display on top of her entry. Toby Marshall, the only male in the contest, sat back and reminisced about the 11 years that he and his wife have been involved in the cooking events.
Marshall said cooking and entering the contests are ways he and his wife share common interests and keep their relationship solid.
But, when it comes down to it, they are competitors.
"I want my name on that plaque," he said.
Judges Sue Kennedy and Sera Kefauver had the good fortune to taste-test two pasta dishes, one meat dish, and one chili entrée.
The decision seemed to be made quick and easy, which was fitting since the winner was Quick, Easy and Sunday Best Stuffed Roast Pork from West York's Sandy Mundis.
Mundis believes her stuffing sealed the deal.
"Cranberries and apples taste good with pork, so why not put it in the stuffing?" she said. "People have always eaten roast pork with stuffing--it's just one of those old Dutch things--but this is a change because I use pork tenderloin, which is quicker, and there's less fat, it's leaner.
"The old-fashioned part is the stuffing, but I tweaked it with cranberries and apples. It's old and new!"
The entrée submissions were judged on taste, presentation, creativity/originality, and ease of preparation.
The first place prize for Mundis was a $75 Shurfine gift certificate and blue ribbon. Belinda Myers of Dallastown placed second with her Ham Chili and received a $50 gift certificate and ribbon. The Shrimp Basil Pasta of Dorothy Furst was the third place winner, earning her a $25 gift certificate and a ribbon.
Marshall didn't win this time, but he assured those around him persistence pays off, and he will be back.
Quick and Easy Sunday Best Stuffed Pork Roast
1 medium pork tenderloin
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 stick butter
2 beaten eggs
Milk, as needed
7 cups of bread cubes
4 tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper
1-1/2 cups of beef broth
4 tablespoons cornstarch with 4 tablespoons water (make paste)
Make filling: Sauté onion, celery and apple in Dutch oven (one that can be transferred from stove top to oven) until translucent in butter. Stir in cranberries.
Place bread cubes in bowl. Add sautéed mixture. Add beaten egg, salt, pepper and parsley. Mix well. Add just enough milk to make filling consistency.
Prepare pork: Open up tenderloin, butterfly if necessary. Pound until it is thin. Lightly oil and season pork with salt and pepper on both sides. Spread the filling on the pork, leaving at least one inch all the way around the edge. Roll up tightly, but not so tight that a lot of the filling falls out. Use cord and tie roast at several different sections.
Put oil in Dutch oven and put on stove top. Add roast and brown all sides of the roast. After browned, transfer to a preheated oven of 375 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the roast.
When the roast is done, place it on a platter and cover with aluminum foil lightly. Add 1 to 1-1/2 cups of beef broth or water to loosen the drippings from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Make a paste of 4 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Gradually add to the brown broth and cook until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the cording from the roast and cut the roast into servings. Spoon some of the gravy on top of the sliced roast. Put the rest of the gravy in a bowl to serve with the roast. Serves 4 to 6.