Not every ingredient is a delight in the Chopped Kitchen — some are more difficult than others and contestants must deal with them as best they can. What Chopped judges look for in those cases is a dish that expertly combines a less-desirable ingredient with the rest of the basket ingredients. Facing the same appetizer basket as the contestants from Chopped: Hoofin’ It, judges Marc, Maneet and Aarón took up spots in the Chopped Kitchen for an After Hours competition where they cooked with butter beans, sweet potato chips, coleslaw mix and pickled pig’s feet.
On the show, the chef competitors did their best with the baskets they were dealt, but some didn’t transform every single ingredient to its full potential. Marc, Maneet and Aarón immediately jumped into the cooking, diving right into working with the pig’s feet, which required the most care to transform. The goal was to incorporate the pig’s feet while also disguising any of the ingredient’s negative attributes.
Aarón proved he makes more than just Mexican food by cooking pasta. He marinated the pig’s feet in lemon juice and olive oil, Marc commenting, “I like the acidity level you brought to this dish.” Maneet did one of the best jobs of incorporating the pickled pig’s feet with the sweet potato chips and butter beans to make patty cakes that she served over coleslaw mix turned into kimchi. Aarón brought up the fact that dishes such as this often turn out dry, but here “the butter beans … fill out the cake and make it moist.”
But Marc surprised everyone with his sweet potato chip soup, in more ways than one. The soup ended up spilling onto his counter, but Marc unceremoniously scraped it back into the bowl and served it up with no second thoughts. He topped it with a sauteed mixture of pickled pig’s feet and crumbled Italian sausage, which Ted thought really hid the pig well. Ted joked: “I’m getting a little hint of stainless steel cleaner,” which assured Marc the counters were in fact clean.
Click the play button on the video above to watch the entire After Hours episode and to see the dishes Marc, Maneet and Aarón created. Then browse behind-the-scenes images for an insider’s look at the cooking.
Start a conversation with fellow fans and tell FN Dish in the comments below how you would have approached this basket: What would you make out of butter beans, sweet potato chips, coleslaw mix and pickled pig’s feet?
Catch up on past Chopped After Hours episodes by watching all the Web-exclusive battles online.