Monday, December 6, 2010

Chili: A Modern Assessment.

And just like that - its official, the holidays are here and in full effect. On Friday we celebrated the holidays with the Ubisoft company party that involved creepy masks and dressing up in black and white. As usual, I wore a blonde wig. Who doesnt love a fake a blonde? I am proud to say on Saturday after a hungover breakfast at the only (non hipster) greasy spoon diner The Lucky Penny - Shawn and I procured a Christmas Tree. I love how Shawn loves his traditions! It makes me think when I have a family we'll be able to say this is our xxxth Christmas together.

It had been a while since I had had a home cooked meal as we had been travelling, attending parties, not making time for it, etc so Sunday I made us set the time aside and make a hearty, heartwarming pot of chili. This sparked a debate in my mind: do people enjoy chilis that are more mexican tasting? Or more Italian tasting? You see alot of Chilis these days with basil and oregano ingredients but also some that lean towards the cilantro and the habanero flavors. For me its always Mexican. What do you prefer? Anyway, it lead us to this tremendously perfect chili concoction: 3 Onion Hominy & Turkey White Chili.

I know what youre asking - what makes this chili the best? To me the perfect chili must have a mission statement. It needs to say what it means in under 2 bites, nothing more. Often they get bogged down in trying to be too many things. Im a pork chili! No Im a beef chili! Wait - are there potatoes in me? I am a stew, then. Variety is the spice of life, yes - but if you keep it simple the flavors have a chance to develop and really shine. Im not of the school where we throw 10 things in a crock pot and hope they work. When the chili flavors sing, they should be deliberate and have a 3 part harmony behind them, not a rock band with off beat drums and a mid pubescent lead singer who vacillates between a bass and a soprano. In short - keep it simple stupid.

Lastly, this chili is excellent because of its 2nd lead: Hominy. What IS hominy you ask? Its basically like you mixed the color and sweetness of corn with the texture of a bean. Though, it is considered neither a vegetable or a bean - its a grain! I look forward to MANY more opportunities to explore this grain and phase it into something I excel at showcasing.

3 Onion Hominy & Turkey White Chili
1 pound ground turkey
1 can of hominy, drained
1 can of white beans, drained
1 can of butter beans, drained
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 can of roasted diced green chiles, with juice.
1/4 cup picked jalapeno, with juice
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks green onion, diced for topping
1 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup spicy & bold bloody mary mix
Dashes of onion powder and dashes of garlic powder.
Cheddar Cheese, to taste.
Salt & Pepper to taste.

Step One: Over medium heat, in a dutch oven - start to cook the garlic and the yellow onions until they appear soft. Throw in the turkey to start browning it. Pour the diced green chilis over the turkey, allowing the juice to cover the turkey. Do your dashes of onion and garlic powder to taste. I like alot! Also, at this stage I salted and peppered the turkey as it cooked. Once it looks white...

Step Two: Add in the beans, hominy, tomatoes. Stir to make sure its all combined them add the bloody mary mix and the picked jalapenos. As a last step before you close the top, stir in the red onions. Let cook for around 2 1/2 hours covered, on low - and around the last 45m uncover it so the juices can burn off. Top with the green onions and the cheese, if you please.

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