Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Turkey Chili Revisited

The past few days in NYC have been perfect chili weather. Cold, a bit dreary. The part of fall I tend to dislike the most as too many of these gray days have me wishing I could bottle the endless blue sky autumn days, have me thinking too much about what’s next to come. One or two gray days can be feasible though, finding someone special to cuddle under blankets with, watching old movies, making warm, hearty meals. But only one or two and then I get antsy, thinking this favorite season of mine has already come and gone. But for now I’m staying optimistic. We’ll have beautiful blue sky fall through November, at least.

But I digress. So on gray day #1 I made turkey chili. An all day project for a day I had nothing planned and where the weather outside was not one bit hospitable. I’ve posted my chili before but this time I made a few different tweaks in order to keep myself from having to venture out. The first change was no beer. It may sound like blasphemy but it’s true. My desire to stay warm and dry outweighed having beer in my chili and I can live with that. Second change was tomato paste, that just happened to be hanging out in my fridge, begging to be used. And it’s funny how two little adjustments can make something just that much different. In a good way. A great way actually. The addition of paste and lack of beer I think made it richer all around, there was still plenty of depth (I mean there’s bacon, molasses, ancho chile cacao all in here… on top of everything else) but with beer there probably would’ve been that extra hoppy layer. But it was a success, especially for a recipe that I considered pretty perfect from the start. The perfect meal to brighten up a dreary fall day.
Turkey Chili
2 lbs ground turkey- this time used all dark meat
3 strips bacon
1 diced medium onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tlb chili powder- I use a equal mix of ancho and regular chili powder
2 Tbl. cumin
2 Tbl. paprika- I use 1/2 regular and 1/2 smoked
1/2 tsp cayenne powder- or to heat preference
2 tsp. tomato paste
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbl. molasses
3 squares dark chocolate- I LOVE to use a spicy flavored dark chocolate
3 c. water
4 tsp. salt- or to taste
1. Heat a Dutch oven (or other heavy 5-quart pot) over medium heat. Add bacon; cook until crisp and brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Raise heat to high; add turkey. Cook, stirring and breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste.

2.  Add tomatoes and water, then molasses, chocolate, reserved bacon, and 4 teaspoons salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, partially covered until meat is very tender, and chili is thick, usually about 3 hours. Serve with desired toppings.

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