Thursday, March 1, 2012

Winter Warmth

One of my favorite winter meals is Turkey and White Bean Chili.  The recipe is one that I've adapted slightly from Emeril Lagasse of Food Network fame.  Its subtle spiciness is countered by the freshness of the cilantro, while the turkey and beans make it hearty and satisfying while warming you to the core.  Whether you make a big pot to share with friends, or just eat it yourself over the course of a week (which you can do, because it reheats beautifully), I guarantee that you'll love this chili. 

Turkey and White Bean Chili (adapted from Emeril Lagasse,
Serves 6-8

* 1 pound dried navy beans, picked over
* 3 Tablespoons olive oil
* About 2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large or 2 smaller onions)
* 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed and minced
* 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
* 2 ½ pounds ground turkey (I use 2 packages of Shady Brook Farm turkey, which comes in 1.3 pound packages.  93/7 is best, 99/1 is too dry)
* 2 ⅔ Tablespoons chili powder
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 Tablespoon paprika
* ½ teaspoon black pepper
* 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
* 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
* ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1 Tablespoon salt
* 1 bay leaf
* 3 tablespoons cornmeal
* 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 2 10-ounce cans Ro'tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles (original), undrained
* 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
* 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional, especially if serving with sour cream)
* 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

For Serving:
* Sour cream
* Grated Cheddar
* Thinly sliced scallions
* Additional chopped cilantro leaves

1.  The night before, place beans in a large pot and cover with water.  Soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.  Before cooking, drain beans in a colander.  Return them to the pot and cover with water so that it reaches 2 inches above the beans. Cook beans at a low simmer until just tender, about 1 hour, and drain. 

2.  While the beans are cooking, prepare your other veggies and combine all the spices in a bowl. 

3.  In a large soup pot (at least 6 quarts or so), heat the oil and saute the onion and jalapeno until they're soft and the onions become slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. 

4.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then toss in the spice mixture, and stir is around to coat the onion mixture. 

5.  Add the ground turkey, and cook, stirring occasionally, until turkey is cooked through and browned, about 6 minutes.  The turkey will give off quite a bit of water--stir around to give it room to evaporate, but don't worry about getting rid of all of it.  Once the turkey is cooked through, add the cornmeal and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

6.  Add the chicken broth, canned tomatoes, and cilantro stems; stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After it has cooked for 30 minutes, add the cooked beans, heavy cream, and cilantro leaves.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.

Serve the chili garnished with dollops of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, scallions, and cilantro, to taste.

This chili freezes and reheats well, so definitely pop some in a container in the freezer for later!


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