Thursday, March 26, 2009

white bean turkey chili

Sometimes when I can't fall asleep at night, I think about a sweater that I want to knit or a dress I want to sew. Somehow, this mental problem solving exercise does the trick of lulling me to sleep. And when I don't have a craft project to worry with my brain-teeth, I visualize cooking something that I've never cooked before.

The other night it was a white bean turkey chili. At least I don't believe I've cooked one before. I wanted to make a turkey chili, but I didn't want it to have a tomato sauce base. And I pictured it studded with bits of carrots and celery and served with a square of homemade cornbread. I really like the way it came out and I want to remember what I did.

White Bean Turkey Chili
1 lb ground turkey meat
1/4 lb of bacon (I found chunks of bacon ends at my local grocery store so I used that) chopped
1 med sized carrot chopped
1 stalk of celery chopped
1/2 smallish onion (I used yellow) chopped
1 medium Anaheim-type chili pepper
1 15oz can of white beans (I used navy beans, but I wonder if they were just a mite too small) drained
1 tbsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of chili powder (my chili didn't come out terrribly chili-flavoured, so maybe a good idea to use more)
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 small bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

grated cheese for garnish (I used goat's milk white cheddar)

Roast the Anaheim chili pepper over a burner until blackened spots appear, turning pepper to roast evenly. Lay pepper in a medium sized bowl and cover with a plate so that it's mostly sealed. Set aside for about 15-20 minutes. The heat from roast will steam the skin off of the pepper. After it's sat in the bowl for 15-20 minutes, peel off the skin and discard. Slice and chop the pepper reserving the seeds if you want a kick-ier chili.

In a saucepan cook bacon until almost crispy and the fat has rendered. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook in the bacon grease scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. When the vegetables have softened, add the ground turkey breaking up the meat so that it browns evenly and there aren't any large clumps of turkey meat.

When the turkey is more or less cooked through, add the beans and incorporate carefully so that the beans don't get smashed up with the stirring. Add the chopped roasted pepper. Add about half a can of water to the mix and then the herbs and spices. Stir well and cover letting the flavors and ingredients marry over a low heat. Stir occasionally checking to see that the water has mostly evaporated and a thicker stew has been left behind.

Serve with grated cheese and a square of cornbread.

Do you think closeup photos of my food is obscene?