Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Turkey Chili

While there are many foods that are appropriate for winter, i.e. casseroles, soups, Christmas cookies, etc, the quintessential cold-weather dish is chili. Chili can be prepared a hundred different ways, but there are some rules. First, don't be in a hurry. This isn't a 30-minute meal, to quote someone who I absolutely cannot stand. Don't get me and Bourdain started on that one. You must simmer chili for at least 60 minutes to fully permeate the entire residence in which it is being prepared. Secondly, it must be manufactured in large quantities. If you're gonna make chili, either do so for a crowd or break out the tupperware for leftovers.

An enameled cast-iron pot is preferred, or stainless steel. You never want to use non-anodized aluminum cookware for acidic foods, unless you like that dissolved aluminum taste.

December 21st brings the astronomical start of winter, when the earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. So while it might not feel like it, from now until June 21st, the days are getting longer. Bring it on old man winter, me and my chili can take it.

Turkey Chili
8 servings

3 medium yellow onions, diced (2.5 C)
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced
2 lbs. ground turkey
4 TB tomato paste
1/4 C dry red wine
29 oz. kidney beans
29 oz. pinto beans
29 oz. canned diced tomato, juice included
1 TB cumin, powdered
2 ts. chili flakes
3 TB chili powder (I used medium heat)
1 TB ancho chili powder-UPDATE-a bit of this is good stuff!
2 ts oregano, dried
S&P, to taste

Coat a large pot with EVOO over medium heat, add the onions and cook for a few minutes until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and stir for a minute, then add the turkey and cook until browned, drain all but 1 TB of fat. Add the tomato paste to the middle of the pot, stir for a couple minutes to develop flavor. Deglaze the pan with the wine, add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for 60-90 minutes. Stir occasionally, and if not spicy enough to your liking, add some cayenne pepper or a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce.

My favorite way to dress a bowl of chili? Some raw onion, fresh jalapeno, freshly shredded extra sharp Wisco cheddar, a dollop of sour cream. Where else can you use the word dollop?

A good pairing would be Ravenswood Zinfandel, Vitner's Blend. And don't forget the cornbread, saltines, or oyster crackers.

Please do enjoy.

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