Friday, October 10, 2008

Grandpa's Bastardized Chili

I made this last weekend, but thought I would share the recipe with you this weekend, just in case it is getting chillier whereever you are at and you too would like to cook up a nice little batch of chili to cozy up over this weekend.

This recipe was actually developed from my grandpa's chili recipe--which I really only learned through my mum since I never really knew my grandpa (I have, like, two memories of him--and none of them involve chili).

The thing is though, I didn't really like chili when I was growing up, and then in my young adult years I came to live in Galway, Ireland for a while--and in Ireland, well, I was almost always hungry because money was tight and I had to save all my Irish pounds to buy Guiness and Jameson's Irish whiskey at the pub. Really. So, I did not eat a whole lot while I lived there and was in a perpetual daydream about the foods we ate in the U.S. (lots of dreams about chips and salsa, I tell you). Then one night, this boy I knew who lived at the Salmon Weir hostel cooked up this huge pot of chili (Rory was his name--he was British--and a total bastard as it turns out, what with telling everyone he snogged with me when we never even so much as touched hands--and then even had the gall to tell people not only did we snog, but that I initiated it and he had to actually push me away...bastard) ....and well, even though I was not fond of chili, I was hungry, so when he offered it to me, I decided to try some. And I found I liked it, so I asked Rory how he made it and he gave me a brief tutorial, and then I was off and making my own chili from there on out. As it turns out, chili ingredients are inexpensive so it was one of the few things I cooked while in Ireland.

Which brings us to the chili recipe I make today--it is a recipe that has evolved from what I learned from Rory (bastard) in Galway, and the recipe my mum gave to me when I returned from Galway and asked about her chili recipe (grandpa's)...and then my own addendums to these recipes over the years. So, without further ado, here we are--my very own chili recipe:
  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2--28oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of blackbeans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 can of chili or pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 - 3/4 of a bottle of beer
  • 2 Tbsp of mild chili powder
  • A small handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips or a piece of dark chocolate
  • Salt to taste

Heat a little olive oil in your chili pot, then place the ground turkey and onions in the pot and saute until the meat is browned and the onion is transluscent. Add both cans of diced tomatoes, including the juice in the cans. Add both cans of beans, the bell peppers, the jalapenos, the garlic, 1/2 of the bottle of beer, and all of the chili powder to the pot. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, then add the chocolate chips , stir, cover the pot and continue simmering over medium low heat. I typically simmer the chili for about 1 hour or so. I stir and taste-test the chili at several points throughout, adjusting the flavoring by adding more chili powder, more beer, some salt, and even more chocolate if I think it needs it. I uncover the chili the last 15 minutes of cooking, turning the heat up to medium so it thickens a bit. Once done, serve it topped with some good sharp white cheddar cheese, some low-fat sour cream and and some tortilla chips on the side. You can even throw on some chopped scallions if you want to.

The recipe also adapts amazingly well to vegetarian standards--I just omit the ground turkey and add an extra can of beans (garbanzo or kidney), making it a 3-bean chili. I, in fact, ,often make it this way since I used to be a vegetarian and still love vege foods and beans, especially.

And there you have it: my grandpa's bastardized chili recipe. Open a bottle of beer, dish up a bowl and dig in.

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