Sear, Simmer & Stir

Life, style & food in the District

Chilly Weather, Chili Eats

Even though the weather in D.C. is still a little warm and sticky (unfortunately that cooler weather from last week did not last long), all signs are pointing to fall! The kids are back in school, leaves are collecting on the ground, football sounds echo throughout the apartment on Sundays and weekend plans are being centered around trips to nearby apple orchards and vineyards. I know the chilly fall weather will soon follow, but I grew a little impatient this weekend and caved into my urge to make a big ol’ heaping pot of that signature chilly weather dish: chili!

First, I must confess that I am not a big fan of chili… or at least I wasn’t until last spring. The traditional ground beef and red bean chili just doesn’t get me terribly excited. It’s a little too heavy and… messy? However, a few months ago I caught an episode of Giada where she was making a chicken and white bean chili that just looked absolutely delicious, in a comforting, yet healthy sort of way – a dish that I would definitely want to curl-up with next to a cracking fire (in my soft clothes, no less). The recipe called for swiss chard and parmesan cheese (in addition to some of the expected chili ingredients, like cumin and chili powder), so it had that (northern) Italian spin that Giada does so well.

I decided to try the recipe that day! … It was cold and damp out, and I was planning on meeting up with some friends that afternoon to tailgate at a DC United game, so I thought the chili would be a nice addition to the tailgate spread. Unfortunately, I was unable to find swiss chard and ground chicken at my local Whole Foods (I know! The horror!), so I ended up having to improvise a bit… and man, am I glad I did (even though I am sure Giada’s is fabulous). The chili I ended up with was definitely not Italian; the flavors were very southwestern, thanks in part to 5 sliced jalapeños, some extra chili powder and a lot of corn. But it was (and continues to be) extremely delicious… if you can handle the heat. My fellow tailgaters braved through the spice and left me with an empty pot, so I am sure you can do the same!

Here’s the recipe I used for the tailgate and again for tonight’s dinner:

  • In a dutch oven or deep sauce pan, heat some olive oil (I always guesstimate my two tablespoons – but somewhere around there) and a small chunk of butter (1/6 of a stick?) over medium high heat
  • Add one large chopped onion, and cook until translucent
  • Add some garlic (I use a tablespoon of minced garlic) and cook for about 30 seconds
  • Add about 2 pounds of lean ground turkey to the pot, 2 teaspoons of sea salt, 2 tablespoons of cumin, 3 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of oregano and cook (stirring frequently) until the turkey is cooked through
  • Add 2 cans of drained and rinsed cannellini beans, one bag of frozen corn, one bag of frozen, chopped spinach (use a big bag for that extra boost!) and 4 cups of chicken stock
  • Let the mixture cook and simmer for about 10 minutes; then slice and add fresh jalapeño peppers (adjust this to your taste preference… maybe start out with 3 medium sized peppers, let the chili cook and then add more)
  • Let the chili cook on low for at least one hour (longer if you prefer)
  • Serve with your choice of fixings! My favorites include a cold beer, some sour cream and corn bread J

So give it a try if you feel so inclined, and see if this chili is your answer to keeping warm in the chilly fall weather. And of course, feel free to share your favorite fall recipes!

Until next time!

The chili…

The tailgate….


One comment on “Chilly Weather, Chili Eats

  1. Sounds delicious!

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This entry was posted on September 25, 2011 by in Main Dish, Soup.

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