Ever since I read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” I’ve been rather preoccupied with eliminating high-fructose corn syrup from my diet, and trying to get my hands on grass fed meat and true free range chicken. Yes, I’ll eat whatever meat is being sold in Whole Foods from time to time, but when I can, I will try to get the stuff from small family farms, and by small, I mean small.
In general though, we’ve been trying to decrease the red meat consumption – for health reasons more than anything. And as temperatures suddenly dropped last week and we all felt a fall chill, my mind turned to chili. Everyone marks fall in their own way and for me, nothing signals the change of seasons more than crisp, fall apples (preferably Cortlands) and a steaming bowl of chili. And yes, chili con carne is the traditional way to go, but I’m making a few alterations.
And if anything, seeing King Corn this afternoon with KS and his younger sister made me feel a lot more vindicated for abandoning the classic oldie-but-goodie and sticking with something slightly healthier (nevermind the whole Topps debacle). For the record, the film is great and I was (for the most part) engaged and entertained. I’ve learned little new as Michael Pollan has obliged in educating me in this matter, but it did drive the point home yet again – we are what we eat and for the most part, Americans are children of the corn.
I have to confess that eating this batch of chili made me realize that I actually prefer the turkey version to its original “con carne” one. I suppose that “chili con gobble” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily as “chili con carne” does, but I’ll get used to it – my palate has already.
Since we’re decreasing/limiting dairy consumption in our household, we chose to top our chili off with some chopped onions and added some hot sauce (when do we not). But I think that the most preferred way is to give your generous bowl some sour cream, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and green onions and award yourself with a heaping spoonful!
3 tbp olive oil
2 dried poblano chiles, chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1 16 oz can of red beans (pinto)
1 32 oz can of black beans
1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground Mexican hot chocolate (Ibarra)
1. In a large pot or a enameled iron pot, over medium heat, saute the chiles, onions and garlic for a few minutes. When onions are translucent, add the ground turkey and stir quickly to break up the meat into little chunks (otherwise it’ll stick together and that’s annoying). Cook the turkey with previous ingredients for 10 minutes or so until the turkey is nicely browned.
2. Lower the heat, add the beans (drained first), the tomatoes and spices (though not salt or sugar). Cover and let cook for 30 minutes.
3. Uncover the pot and taste – at this point you should add your salt and sugar and see how it tastes. If you think it’s really bland, add a bit more salt, otherwise, cover the pot again and let the flavors interact and develop for 20 more minutes.
4. Take the lid off and taste again – adjust your seasonings and cook over lowest heat possible for another 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with chopped onions, or sour cream, cheddar cheese and chopped scallions.