Do you love chili season? Yes? Great! I have two recipes to share with you today: my favorite chili and cornbread recipe. The chili recipe I now consider my creation. I took a basic Whole Foods recipe and added a couple of twists and turns. The end result is a spicy, sweet and comforting chili that is easy to make and healthy for you! My cornbread recipe comes from The Silver Palate Cookbook. If you don’t own this cookbook run out and buy it now! This is a classic that should be part of any home cooks’ library. The cornbread is slightly sweet and has moist tender crumb. Also, it calls for bacon which you can omit if you choose. Either way you will have a crowd pleasing cornbread to enjoy.
Lets start with my chili recipe. Chili is so versatile. Really you can add anything to a basic chili recipe and it will probably taste good. My recipe includes corn, a red pepper, ground turkey, beer and beans, but I think the key to any good chili is good chili powder. I bought a small jar of homemade chili powder from Formaggio Kitchen in Boston’s South End. This chili powder is spicy and smoky. Without sounding too ridiculous now; it adds a nice depth of flavor. I’m not kidding. I can taste the smokiness and the spice is there, but it is not too overwhelming. Typically, I use McCormick’s chili powder with good results but this chili powder was something special. I add 3 tablespoons of chili powder because I like my chili with a little kick. If you prefer a less spice, only add 2 tablespoons of chili powder.
After I cook the onions and garlic and brown the meat; I add a jar of diced tomatoes, a bottle of beer and the spices. The corn, beans and red pepper go in last. Then it simmers for a half hour. I find it best to cook this chili a day ahead because the flavors really meld together. If you can’t wait, don’t worry, the chili will still taste fantastic!
While the chili simmers, I make my favorite cornbread. This time I made, cornbread muffins. The recipe will make 10 muffins or 1 9×9 pan of cornbread. Note: If you make the chili a day ahead, I would make the cornbread the same day you serve the chili. Cornbread tastes best the day it is made. If you need to make it in advance, reheat it cover in aluminum foil for 10 minutes at 350.
Once the chili is ready and the cornbread is cooling; it is time to chop up some toppings. I like avocado slices, green onion, thinly sliced radishes and cheddar cheese. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt will also taste good.Here I added green onions, grated cheddar cheese and thinly sliced radishes. I ran out of avocados. Next time! After all it is chili season, Bubba’s favorite food season which means lots of chili from now until spring! Enjoy this recipe with a cold beer on a cool fall day. Save the leftovers over for lunch or double the recipe and freeze for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
Kelly’s Turkey Chili
recipe adapted from Whole Foods Turkey Chili
serves 4-6 (4 with leftovers, 6 with none)
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb ground turkey (dark meat is best)
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups good beer ( I typically use a good IPA or Pale Ale)
2-3 Tbsp. chili powder (2 if you like it less spicy)
2 tsp ground cumin
just a pinch of red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t want some heat)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups of cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of corn, drained or 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed
1 red pepper, chopped
Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper
In a heavy large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic. Add a bit of kosher salt and ground pepper and cook, stirring often until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add ground turkey and brown it, breaking it apart with the back of spoon as it cooks.
Add tomatoes, beer, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
Add beans, corn, chopped red pepper and simmer for 15 minutes longer to blend flavors. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Remove bay leaves and serve immediately with desired toppings and cornbread or your favorite crusty bread. I suggest making it a day ahead to let the flavors blend together. This chili freezes well so make a double batch and freeze the leftovers! Enjoy!
My Favorite Cornbread
Recipe from Silver Palate Cookbook Crackling Cornbread
Makes 9 squares or 10 muffins
1 cups stone ground cornmeal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
21/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
6 tbsp. of unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, gently beaten
Optional: 1 cup diced, cooked bacon
Pre-heat your oven to 400. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners or grease with butter a 9×9 square baking pan.
Stir together, cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then gently stir in buttermilk, melted butter and slightly beaten egg. Add bacon at this time if you are using it.
Pour batter into muffin cups or 9×9 pan. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for about 20 minutes if making muffins or 25 minutes if making bread. Cornbread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center is clean and the edges are a light golden brown. Cool bread in pan on wire rack or cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes on wire rack and then turn out on wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm with lots of butter!