Saturday, December 15, 2012

Turkey and White Bean Chili

I have been remiss in posting about my last adventure with Le Creuset.  It has been a busy week.

Last Sunday I hosted a holiday party for the people in my group.  For a similar gathering in past years I had served several warm appetizers and ended up spending far more time in the kitchen than hanging out with everyone.  So this year I wanted something less labor-intensive the day of.  I decided to go with some appetizers I could prepare in advance, and I thought it would be a great occasion to make a chili that Wayne and I had at Lynmar Estate during the Wine & Food Affair in Russian River Valley in early November.

The Wine & Food Affair is an awesome event for foodies who love wine - like me :)  All of the participating wineries prepare a food to pair with one of their wines during tasting, and the participants receive a cookbook containing all of the wineries' recipes.  In addition to being a great new cookbook, it serves as a directory the day of the event so you can find the foods you really want to try and head to those wineries.  It was an absolutely beautiful, warm day for early November.  Wayne and I should have been joined by my Mom, who had planned to visit that weekend to go the event with us.  She canceled her trip, but we decided to go anyway.  Lynmar Estate is an especially beautiful winery with gardens where they grow their own vegetables interspersed with ornamental plants.  It was exceedingly picturesque at their vineyard that day.

They served a Turkey and White Bean Chili meant to be paired with their pinot noirs.  It was one of the tastiest chilis I'd ever had.  When I took a close look at the recipe I understood why - "Turkey and White Bean Chili" was a euphemism for chili with turkey AND bacon AND beef.  Paired with some cornbread it seemed like a good winter meal to make for the peeps.  And I could use Le Creuset!

So again I cooked some bacon.  This time I was in luck because Whole Foods had available their own meat counter applewood-smoked  thick cut bacon.  It looked pretty darn delicious.

After browning the bacon, I added all the chopped veggies to saute them with the bacon.  All the chopping was the most labor-intensive part of this recipe, but it really wasn't that bad.

I made the chili the day before so that I'd have the opportunity for it to set, and for the flavors to meld and develop overnight.  Here is the finished product the next day just before serving.

It tasted just like I remembered.  I served it with thinly sliced green onions, crumbled cotija cheese, lime wedges and some warm cornbread.  Some happy chili eaters:

Definitely a chili I would make again.  And very different than the other chili I like, the Jalapeno Chile from The New Basics Cookbook, which has mild and hot Italian sausage, so is pretty different in flavor with more of an Italian bent.  Recipe for Turkey and White Bean Chili, by chef David Frakes, follows.  Enjoy!

6 slices thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch dice
1 large yellow pepper, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch dice
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin, toasted and ground
2 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon paprika (smoked or regular)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb lean (85%) ground beef
1 lb ground turkey (I used thigh)
1 cup dark Mexican beer (I used Negra Medelo)
1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed (I used Great Northern, but would use cannelini next time)
1 24 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 24 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice

In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until the pieces are lightly crisp, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, chili powders, cumin, oregano and paprika, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the mixture until the vegetables are tender and the seasonings are aromatic.

Add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon.  Once the beef is broken up and beginning to brown, add the ground turkey.  Break it up with the spoon and brown it until it's no longer pink, roughly 4 minutes.  Stir in the beer and beans.  Add the crushed and diced tomatoes.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1.5-2 hours.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Transfer the chili to serving bowls and garnish with lime wedges, sour cream, shredded cheese and sliced scallions.

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