Are you indecisive? Feeling like something hearty and meaty but also tempted by healthy vegetables? Well, here's a solution: chill out with some Zen Chili.
For this edition of Is My Blog Burning (kindly hosted by Cathy at My Little Kitchen) I decided to try my hand at a white chili. White chili isn't very visually exciting, though, and I played with a few ideas on how to jazz it up. My sister gave me the idea for this recipe; when she makes a white chili for a family gathering, her husband usually makes a meaty red one for the beef-lovers. She told me that most people opt to try both chilis side-by-side. And immediately I conjured up an image of the two chilis, amicably sharing the same bowl. His and hers, yin and yang. Perfect!
For the White Chili:
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups white beans (I used a mixture of lingots, which are like navy beans, and black-eyed peas)
2 cups shredded cooked turkey meat, mostly white meat
1 long chili pepper
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs chili oil (chili flakes may be substituted, but you may need more olive oil as a result)
2 cups turkey broth
1/2 cup crême fraîche
salt and pepper to taste
The night before you want to make the chili, put the beans in a large bowl and cover them with water to soak. The next day, when you are ready to start cooking, drain and rinse them. (I have heard rumours you can soften up the beans in a pressure cooker if you forget to pre-soak them but it has never worked for me.)
Place the pepper under a broiler or grill, or char the skin over an open flame. Once the skin is black on all sides, put the pepper in a plastic bag in the fridge.
In a large pot, heat the two oils (or one as the case may be) and add the chopped onions and garlic. Soften until the onions are transluscent and the garlic smells delicious. Add the spices and stir for a few minutes to bring out the maximum flavour. Take the pepper out of the fridge and peel and chop it. If you don't want the chili to be too hot, remove the seeds first. Add the pepper, beans, broth and turkey meat to the pot and simmer for an hour or two. Taste for salt and pepper.
Before serving, add the crême fraîche and taste for spices, salt and pepper.
For the Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
4 large shallots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups black beans, presoaked as above
3 heaping Tbs Better than Boullion Chili paste or 3 Tbs chili powder and 1 Tbs cumin
1/4 cup whisky (optional)
1 cup chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
Sweat the garlic and onions in the oil until transluscent and fragrant. Add the chili paste or combination of spices. Add a couple of cups of water, the tomato, the whisky and the beans and simmer for an hour or two. Taste for salt, pepper and spices.
Serve the two chilis in a yin-yang pattern in a bowl and pass around grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese and chopped peppers as a garnish. Chill out and warm your tummy!