It’s that time of year when attention turns to the tropics, and we start anticipating how we’ll get by with no electricity. It’s been 11 years since Ivan, but the memories of being without power for two weeks in is still etched in our minds.
We fortunately have generators, so with a bit of thought, can get by with minimal problems. One area of focus is what we would eat, When hurricane Danny formed in the Atlantic a couple of days ago, I decided that I would start making one-dish meals and freezing them in vacuum sealed packages. Yesterday, Susan and I made pasta jambalaya, but decided to omit the shrimp and double up on the chicken. Boy was it good! We had it for dinner last night with a Caesar salad and freshly made French bread. I froze what we didn’t eat.
Today, I decided to make turkey chili for dinner and freeze what we don’t eat. Susan assumed the role of the photographer, and occasionally stepped in to help.
The ingredients for the turkey chili include turkey, onion, garlic, flour, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, tomato sauce, black beans and a little olive oil for sautéing the onions and garlic.
The first step involved browning the ground turkey in a large Dutch oven, making sure to break the meat up into small pieces.
Even though the ground turkey is quite lean (I used 93% lean), I routinely dump it into a colander and run it under hot water until the liquid runs clean. After it has cooled a bit, I break any large clumps into small pieces with my fingers.
To the same Dutch oven that was used for the turkey, I add a bit of olive oil and sauté the chopped onions over medium heat for about five minutes or until they are tender but not browned.
Then I add the minced garlic and continue sautéing until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
I return the browned turkey to the Dutch oven, and stir to combine. Then I add the flour to the meat mixture and stir to combine. The reason for the flour is that it helps to thicken the mixture.
Next comes the spices consisting of chili powder, cumin, salt, freshly ground pepper and oregano. Both the Rotel tomatoes and the tomato sauce had no salt added. In addition, the black beans were reduced sodium. Therefore, I adjusted the taste by adding a bit more salt than my original recipe called for.
After everything was well combined, I added the Rotel tomatoes and the tomato sauce. In the past, I had only used one can of tomato sauce, but both Susan and I thought that the mixture looked a bit dry. Therefore, I added a second can.
I stirred the mixture, heated it to a boil, and then covered the pan. I lowered the heat to medium low and cooked the chili covered for about an hour.
Meanwhile, I poured the black beans into a strainer, and rinsed them well. After an hour, I added the black beans to the meat mixture, gave it a good stir, covered the pan, and cooked it for an additional 30 minutes.
I corrected the seasonings, and voila – an incredible turkey chili!
For dinner, I served the chili topped with some shredded cheddar cheese, and garnished it with chopped chives. On the side, I served a green salad, some tortilla chips and a chilled Chardonnay. What we didn’t eat went into the freezer for another delicious meal should the hurricane nonsense arise. The question is, however, whether it’ll last that long. Yum!
1¼ pounds lean ground turkey*
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 (10-ounce) cans Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed well
Chopped green onions or chives for garnish if desired
Shredded cheddar cheese
Cook and crumble ground turkey in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until browned. Pour into colander and rinse with hot water until water runs clean. Take handfuls and rub between hands to crumble into fine pieces. Rinse again.
Heat olive oil in the same Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic; sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add browned turkey, flour, chili powder, cumin oregano, freshly ground pepper and salt. Stir to mix well. Add Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, and tomato sauce; mix well. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add black beans; cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes.
Serve Chili in bowls topped with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and tortilla chips on the side. (Yield: 6 servings)
*May also use ground beef in place of the turkey.
Variation: Serve warm chili on a bed of shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes to make a taco salad. Garnish with chopped onions, crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese.[/print_this]