spicy turkey chili & bacon zucchini cornbread

IMG_4238

it’s chilly in dc.  time for some chili!

sorry.  couldn’t resist.  but good night, it is cold here today.  completely unacceptable.

this chili would be the opposite of that.  healthy AND tasty.  and if you have a half-eaten can of chipotle from last week’s chicken, you’re in luck.

little known fact – not only was i born in texas, i spent my fair share of time at chili-cook-offs. i’m pretty sure i was wearing gingham, cause my mom knows what’s what.

but really, chili is my dad’s thing.  this is one of two culinary gifts from my father, the mad scientist.  the first is peanut butter on waffles with pancake syrup.  i have yet to be able to convince anyone of the amazingness of that combination, so maybe you have to grow up with it?

anyway.  that man is serious about his chili.  he got his recipe down to a very precise combination of spices.  when i asked him for it a while back, he asserted that the ratios require that you create a very large quantity of chili spice, making it useless for the home cook.  pre-katrina, his local nola restaurant used his crazy spice mix, and i think he used to give baggies of it away to the worthy few.

not screwing around here folks, not screwing around.

anyway, we’re moving ahead without you here, dad, with what i’m sure would be a pretty solid contender for the blue ribbon.

IMG_4189

tomatoes.  green chile and chipotle chilies.  white beans.  freshly ground cumin.  hard to go wrong here.

and hey, look!  i grew those peppers!  last gasp of summer, there you go.

IMG_4207

this chili is seriously good.  it is nicely spicy and smoky from the chipotle and paprika, has a brightness from the green chile and tomatoes.  the ground turkey gives it heft without heaviness.  and the white beans, especially on day two, are just pillowy soft.  i caught the somm fishing them out of the leftovers, the sneak!

IMG_4215

and . . . because i can’t leave well enough alone, i also made cornbread.  the sweetness balances the chili’s spice, and the smoky bacon brings it all together.

the zucchini?  well, i was just intrigued to see if it would turn out as a proper cornbread or more like a quick bread.  happily, this is a true cornbread, maybe just a tad moister, with lots of green goodness tucked inside.

IMG_4194

this is a hearty bread, between the whole wheat flour, bacon and zucchini.

it also has buttermilk – and i cheated and added a bit of lemon juice to milk for a DIY solution – and browned butter.  yum.

i baked it in a cast-iron skillet coated with the bacon (ok it was pancetta, but how girly girly does zucchini pancetta cornbread sound!!) drippings so it was infused with bacon flavor.

legit.

Spicy Turkey Chili

Adapted from Epicurious

  • 2 canned whole chipotle chilies in adobo, finely chopped or pureed with a little water
  • 2 18-ounce cans tomatoes, whole or diced (you may not use them all)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoky Spanish paprika
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • two 4-ounce cans mild green chilies, drained and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cornmeal
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
Warm oil in a large pot.  Add onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes until softened and fragrant.  Add cumin and paprika and cook for another minute or so.  Add the turkey and cook until no longer pink.
Add the chipotles, broth, seasonings, and tomatoes.  Let simmer for about an hour.  Add more broth if it gets too thick.  Then add your bell pepper and green chiles and cornmeal and simmer for half an hour.  Then add your beans.  Continue to add more broth or tomatoes to keep the consistency as you like it.
Discard bay leaf.  Serve with cilantro, sour cream and cheese on top.
This keeps well for a few days in the fridge.
Bacon Zucchini Cornbread
Adapted from Epicurious
  • 6 slices (or more!) of bacon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large zucchini (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup medium-grind cornmeal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it gets a nutty brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool before adding eggs and buttermilk.

While butter is cooling, you can:

Crisp your bacon in an oven-safe skillet (cast iron will work really well, but you can use any type, or just use a baking pan greased with your bacon drippings).  Remove and roughly chop bacon.  Swirl drippings around to coat pan, discard excess.

Cut a few thin slices from your zucchini and reserve; shred the rest with a grater or cuisinart.  Add to bowl with butter mixture and stir until well blended.

Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cornmeal into a large bowl.

Add zucchini mixture; fold just to blend (mixture will be very thick).

Transfer batter to skillet and decorate with your saved zucchini slices.

Bake bread until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes.

Eat with lots of butter and chili!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s