Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Warm Weather, Finally

This weekend, with the warm, intoxicating breeze of ALMOST summer coming in through my windows, all I could think was how I needed to be sitting outside on the fire escape (my own little “patio” of sorts) eating dinner that night. And, so, my next thought was, a nice hot bowl of chili would be perfect to stave off any slight chill that might waft through the night air.

This is one of my favorite recipes to make a big pot of and share with everyone I know. The first time I ever made it was my senior year at BU, with my roommate Tina. For whatever reason, we didn’t have a bottle of beer in our fridge (surprising for an apartment where four 21-year-old college kids lived, huh?) so Tina called upon her friend Matt, who lived in the building next door to us, and bribed him into giving us one in exchange for a bowl of chili when we were done cooking. Since then, this is something I’ve become famous for making for family barbecues, during New London’s annual Sailfest in July, and time’s in between. And, ALWAYS with some freshly baked cornbread. The basic recipe for this is a Rachael Ray recipe, you can find it here. I’ve tweaked mine a little, substituting a can of black beans for a pound of ground turkey, and minor adjustments to the amounts of certain ingredients.

  • 3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 4 T chili powder
  • 2 T grill seasoning
  • 1 T cumin
  • 2 T hot sauce, more or less to taste
  • 2 T worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large peppers, any color, chopped
  • 1/2 bottle beer
  • 2 8oz cans tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup smokey barbecue sauce
  • 1 can black beans, with liquid
  • 1 bag frozen corn kernels

  • 1 box Jiffy corn bread mix

Begin by heating the olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Add the turkey and season with the chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, breaking up the meat as it browns. Add the chopped onions and peppers, and cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the beer and cook another 10 minutes, until the alcohol cooks off. Add the tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, black beans, and corn. Heat to a simmer. Serve with warm cornbread.

So I made my pot of chili, brought some over to my mom’s, gave some to my downstairs neighbor Frank, at his store, Muse (an art gallery/shoe store- quirky huh?), and had the rest for my weekly Sister Sunday dinner with Angie.

You can add any toppings to the chili that you’d like, but personally, I prefer to keep it simple, with just a scant sprinkle of shredded cheese and sliced green onions. But I mean, go nuts, add whatever you want.

Also, I had leftover cornbread, and used some of it to make cornbread croutons for salads. I just chopped the leftover bread into small squares, toasted them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes (watching them carefully), and voila!

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