Friday, July 29, 2011

Turkey Chili and Cheddar Cornbread.

Cornbread and chili is like peanut butter and jelly... kind of the best thing since the sliced bread that you put it on. I have made chili seven thousand times, but this is honestly the first time that I didn't turn to google (.....or SmittenKitchen) to shed a little light on "secret ingredients" and how much of them to add. I think there comes a time in every girl's life when she should set the cookbooks aside, raise the bar, and rely solely on her taste buds.(***However, this should be done with caution, please see note below.) I may not have re-invented the culinary wheel, or the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but I made some awesome chili that I can totally toot my own horn over, which is obviously one of my favorite things to do. 

***Note: Recipes can be helpful....really helpful. 
Example: Yesterday I decided to really go balls to the walls and whip up a little freestyle pad thai. I've made it before and it was delicious (see here)..... I made it this time and made the worst pad thai in the history of pad thai.... if you could even call it that. I did not just fall short of that bar I so pridefully spoke of, but I came nowhere close. Richard said it was too horrible to feed to the dogs. I agreed with him (through my tears) and sulked for the remainder of the afternoon. Ugh.

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey meat, I get dark meat.... more flavor
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, plus juice
2 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste (I used 2 teaspoons of salt and a few grinds of peppercorns)

*This chili is mild, if you want it spicier.... add spice. Duh. 

To garnish-
Sour cream
Cheddar cheese
Green onion

For cornbread-
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups cornflour, stone ground
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups corn ( I used canned.... you can use frozen, also)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, well shaken
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 jalapeno (optional)

In a large dutch oven heat oil and sauté onions and bell pepper until transparent and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.... this is what makes chili delicious. Add the ground turkey, chili powder, chipotle power, cumin, and cinnamon. Stir the meat to break up any lumps and cook it until it is no longer pink, about 15 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, diced chilies, beans, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Bring the chili to a simmer and then cook over medium/ low heat for at least an hour. I let mine cook for about 2 and a half. I am a firm believer in the longer things like this cook, the better they taste. 

While the chili is cooking, prepare the cornbread. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
Line a muffin sheet with muffin cups. In a medium bowl, combine cornflour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, corn, and egg. Stir in the flour mixture and mix together until just combined. If you over-stir cornbread it will become very dense. Fold in 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese. Dived the batter into the prepared muffin cups and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. I also thinly sliced a jalapeno and added a slice to each muffin. 
Bake about 20 minutes until golden. 

Garnish chili with sour cream, green onion, and cheddar cheese. Mmmm. 

PS- This chili= super healthy. This cornbread= not so much.... the perfect marriage of foods in my opinion, which should also be your opinion. 

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