Thursday, May 31, 2012

not not chili

Chili is nature's ultimate hider of things. No, not like hiding a balloon filled with heroin in your butt, silly! You can hide nutritious stuff in it. This is a recipe for such a chili. It is in no way my attempt at an authentic chili of any sort.* There's beans in it for chrissakes. Not to perpetuate a stereotype but here in Texas you can legally shoot someone for suggesting that beans belong in chili**. Assuming you are carrying a firearm of course, which is required by law. Chili is also accepted as a legally valid form of ID.

This is just an exercise in me putting as much shit as possible into a dish for the hell of it. Chili's all about complexity and a melding of flavors & texture, which I thought using lots of different stuff (nothing too overpowering) would lend itself well to. I wanted something with that chili spice and heat, but jammed full of as many veggies as I could muster. Oh and I used (giggle) turkey, so I hope anybody that's offended by that stopped reading when I said I used beans. I don't care, I like beans. And turkey. Bite me. You can shoot me in the face if you want (actually don't), but this is still chili. Texas chili, it definitely is not. That's beef with no beans. Period. No one is arguing that. Chili out bro.

I got the idea of using two different cuts of meat from a beef chili recipe in an old issue of Cook's Illustrated that I couldn't find a link to (their TV show rules too). The idea being if you use two different cuts, a ground and a coarser cut, you get a more complex texture. I don't know that it applies to turkey, but I did it anyway. The overall concept I use for any chiii, I got from the homesick texan (best. foodblog. ever.) Her chili is subtle but not subdued, spicy but not fiery, complex but not rocket surgery of the taste buds. And her additions of mexican hot chocolate (or semi sweet chocolate and cinnamon) and coffee are divine.

note: I used a little bit of roasted bell pepper puree that I needed to get rid of (see: hiding shit). It's totally superfluous & I left it out of the recipe.

not not chili
(enough food for a grown man for a week)

So many goddamn ingredients:
oh there was more stuff that I left out of this pic

1/2 a turkey breast cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 lb or so ground turkey
5-ish large dried chilies (anchos, new mexico chilies, etc.) re-hydrated
half a large onion, chopped
several cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 poblano, chopped
half a cup of coffee
1 bottle of beer (I use Shiner, but any darker beer that's good to drink with chili should be fine)
1/2 can drained black beans
3/4 cup chopped carrots & celery (I picked out carrots and celery from a bag of frozen stew veggies)
2 or 3 chipotles in adobo
1 tsp or so shaved mexican hot chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate plus a couple dashes of cinnamon
Chili powder, cumin, mexican oregano, ground toasted corriander seeds***
oil for browning
masa harina for thickening (optional-depends if you want it thick or more stew-like)
garnish (whatever: chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, greek yogurt/sour cream, chips, etc.)
crowd around. don't be shy about shoving

brown your turkey in batches in hot oil. Drain liquid from pan (turkey leaves a lot of water behind)

add more oil if necessary & sweat the onion, poblano, garlic, carrots & celery on med-low heat until they soften up, 10 min or so.

add the corn and tomato and spices, turning the heat up some. Saute a couple more minutes.

puree the hydrated chilies with the chipotles.

bubble, bubble, toil & trouble...
add basically everything to the pot (browned meat, chili puree, black beans, coffee, beer). bring to a slight boil, partially cover & simmer on the back burner or in a crock pot for about 4-5 hours.

remove from heat. add in shaved chocolate (gives it a rich earthy color). if it seems soupy, stir in a 1/4 cup masa harina to thicken it up. if you want it more soupy, add water.

taste it. add more spice & salt if necessary. DON'T FORGET THIS STEP.
Oh pepper plants are starting to blossom. Darn.

*Chili, particularly what defines authentic chili & particularly in Texas (where it's the official state dish, whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean), is a topic that starts wars. And international policing actions. Chili is actually what started Vietnam. It's one of those things, like politics and religion that you just shouldn't bring up in public.
**Hell, if you're the governor, particularly of the well coiffed & not too bright variety, you can blast away at anything you suspect to be a coyote. Freedom!
***As always, I'm not gonna tell you exactly how much of each to use. This is not a blog for the feint of heart. Put on your big boy pants and figure out what you like. Besides, I'm not telling you how I spice my chili. What? You wanna borrow my underpants too?

No comments:

Post a Comment