When the weather outside is frightful, i.e. you are getting pounded by a Nor'easter, a bowl of chili sure is delightful. For the second time in three weeks, we are enduring the effects of a Nor'easter. In fact, three weeks ago I had never even heard of such a term. But when it causes your roof to spring 3 leaks, you get over the niceties real fast. The sky reminds me of Holland, the perfect shade of Gray No. 2 as my dad called it. Though the endless buckets of water pouring down from the heavens is, I will admit, even a bit much for the low country. I don't recall ever seeing anything like this. Being awoken by a thunder storm at 4am with the house shaking and flits of lightning every few seconds is quite an experience. I love thunder storms, but only when my roof is sealed tight!
The good thing about this kind of weather, and yes there actually is one, the comfort food. The soul warming stews, hearty soups and smoky chili's never taste better than on a day like this. My go-to chilli is a richly flavored turkey chili with white beans. The smokiness of cumin and chili powder is grounded by the dry bitterness of cocoa powder and cinnamon. The turkey lends itself to a lighter chili, fire roasted tomatoes add another depth of charred flavor whilst the creamy white beans offer a much welcomed smoothness against the subtle spice. Topped off with finely diced red onions, cilantro and a dollop of light sour cream, this chili is a sight for sore eyes.
Turkey Chili with White Beans - adapted from Epicurious.com
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, finely diced
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 28 oz can Fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 3 15 oz cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
- cooked white or brown rice
- finely diced red onion
- chopped cilantro
- light sour cream
Heat the oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the oregano and cumin and cook for 1 minute longer. Increase heat to medium-high and add the turkey. Cook, stirring until no longer pink, breaking up the pieces with the back of your spoon. Stir in the chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix well to combine and then add the tomatoes with their juices. Mix in the stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans to the chili and simmer until flavors blend and they are heated through, about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)
Layer a few spoonfuls of rice into the bottom of the bowls and then ladle the chili on top. Sprinkle the onions on top, add a dollop of sour cream and a final dash of cilantro.