Thursday, January 13, 2011

Light (dare I say?) turkey chili

This recipe, made rich through vegetables and spices rather than oil and beef, actually has the feeling of a thick soup rather than a heavy chili...no food baby here.  Straight from one of my favorite cookbooks, American Medical Association's Family Health Cookbook: Good Food That's Good For You, I topped my bowl with grated sharp cheddar and cilantro and served with a big salad and glass of shiraz...yum!

I was inspired to make this recipe after finding local ground turkey breast at the Tompkins Park Farmers Market last Sunday.  The white meat, although a bit chunkier than the dark, is a healthier and leaner option.  Because all of the flavor comes from the spices, the substitution does not take away from the soup.

I probably would've made this recipe without the turkey if I hadn't found this local vendor.  Did you know that 23% of our energy in the USA is used for processing and packaging our food?  On top of that, the amount of extra fossil fuel required to produce animal feed, housing, transportation, slaughter, etc. makes meat the least energy-efficient food.  Low on the food miles, my turkey came straight from the Hudson Valley that morning.

Turkey and White Bean Chili Verde is the name of this chili recipe.  However, I substituted the green chiles for diced tomatoes, added two chopped chipotle peppers and their juice for spice (which I highly recommend), and used kidney beans instead of white.  I also didn't use cornmeal, which may have contributed to my soup-like consistency, but found the to be chili thick nonetheless.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil   2 1/2 cups defatted lower-sodium chicken broth
1 pound ground turkey                1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped           1 can (4 ounces) green chiles, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced                             Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow or white cornmeal     1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder                          1/3 cup cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Heat the oil in a large, preferably nonstick skillet, and cook the turkey and onion over medium heat, stirring often, until the turkey loses its pink color and the onion softens, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the garlic, cornmeal, and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the cumin and oregano. Add the broth and simmer, stirring often, over medium-low heat, for 10 minutes.  Add the beans and chiles and simmer for 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The recipe can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat gently before serving.)
2. When ready to serve, add the scallions and cilantro to the chili. Simmer for 3 minutes, then serve.

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