It's that time of the year. Time to switch off the A/C, don the scarves, and trade in delicate summer fare for hearty comfort foods.
And naturally one of the first go-to comfort foods I think of is chili - a dish best served on the couch or at a tailgate.
Growing up, chili was one of the few dishes in which my Dad stepped up to the stove (that and homemade popcorn). I'm not sure where this tradition started. Maybe he was inspired by all the cowboy movies he watched as a kid. I don't know much about his recipe except that he frequently used tomatoes from our garden that my Mom had lovingly canned over the summer. And in our household, chili was always served with sweet pickles, white bread and butter, and cinnamon rolls. Mmmm...
There's something about chili with all its diverse forms (Texas chili, White Chicken Chili, Chili Verde, Cincinnati Chili...) and secret ingredients that I find both intriguing and overwhelming. Which is probably why prior to this week, I'd never really made chili before. Instead, Wendy's has been doing its best to fill the void. Well, patch the void at least.
Chili in its most basic state consists of meat, tomatoes, and chili peppers or powder. But while researching online, I found recipes containing everything from coffee, chocolate, cinnamon, beer, sweet potatoes, bouillon cubes, and every pepper under the sun... where to even start? As luck has it, I happened upon Giada's latest episode which features three different types of chili: Short Rib Chili, Vegetarian Chili Verde, and California Turkey Chili.
After a few very intense seconds of contemplation, I decided to try her California Turkey Chili because it seemed the most straightforward.
The recipe is extremely simple and takes no time at all. I would advise you to add only half the amount of spices and adjust upwards from there. Also I added a can of diced tomatoes which I think helped round it out a bit. Then I garnished it with some cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chopped scallions (pictured above).
Giada recommends serving it over a bed of her quinoa and pine nut pilaf, but since we didn't have any quinoa, we ate it with my latest addiction - these Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Chips.
Here's a glimpse of the chili sans garnish:
Hearty and even healthy. I enjoyed the recipe and would definitely make it again, but first there are too many other types of chili I want to try to make... which is good since I think the "chili" weather is here to stay for the rest of the year!
Giada's California Turkey Chili
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped
- 2 large poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded and diced
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (dark meat)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 cups low-salt chicken broth (preferably organic)
- One 15 to 16-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
- Simplest Quinoa and Pine Nut Pilaf, recipe follows
- Assorted garnishes, such as chopped onion, shredded white Cheddar, chopped tomatoes and/or sour cream
Heat the oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, poblanos, celery and onions. Saute until the vegetables soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turkey and saute until no longer pink, breaking up the turkey with the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over and stir to blend. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to blend. Add the broth and beans. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the flavors blend and the chili thickens to desired consistency, stirring often, 20 to 30 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper.