Thursday, September 29, 2011

Superfast Chili

Whoa partner -- Chili, fast?  You’re kidding, you say.   Why, no… I’m not!
I work from home, one of those telecommuters.  I don’t have a quick lunch spot a block away that I can just hop over and buy an allergen-free meal for little guy.  Most of my lunch hour is spent just hugging him, rolling around on the living room carpet, and getting an overview of what happened so far that day.  I know I am more than lucky to have all this.  Blessed.
At the same time, all this rolling around during lunchtime means I don’t have a lot of time during lunch to actually cook lunch.  This recipe, though, is superfast.  It also tastes like it took you a whole afternoon.   

Basic Superfast Turkey-Bean Chili

Olive oil for sautéing (~1 tablespoon)
1 cup chopped onions *
1 pound ground turkey  
1 can Red Kidney, Pinto or Black Beans
1 teaspoon smoked Paprika
      (if it’s not smoked, what’s the point?  Smoked paprika makes all the difference ~ rich, delicious)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried basil, parsley, and/or cilantro
In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and sautee onions until translucent, about 3 – 5 minutes.  Add ground turkey and brown.  While browning, add the spices.  Once browned, add the can of beans with the juices.  (If worried about salt here, rinse the beans and add about 1/3 cup water – but I find the can’s juices add to the overall flavor)
That’s it!  Put in bowls and eat.  
In the pictures here, I’ve also added a couple cups of rice pasta elbows to fill out the meal.  Stir in and you’ve got a great lunch or dinner!
* I love love love frozen chopped onions that I buy for $1 a bag at the supermarket.  A great timesaver.  The onions don’t brown as nicely as they release a lot of water, but if that’s not a concern in a recipe, it’s a great deal.  On the other hand, we joined a CSA share this year and the onions from the farm are worth their weight in gold: crisp, rich, caramelized flavor.   Each has their place ~ it’s up to you!
Transformer Food
This is just a starting point, though.  You can adjust spices, add stuff, and make it change identities constantly.  It’s like the James Bond of chili. 
For example:
-          If you use garbanzo beans, add a little cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and some raisins … you’ve got Moroccan!
-          Add a little cardamom and curry powder, and you’ve got an Indian dish.  
-          Take out the beans, amp up the basil, add gluten / allergy free pasta sauce and you’ve got a lazy lasagna!
-          Sautee cubes of eggplant with the onions, add the Moroccan spices above plus a little oregano, keep the beans and serve with warmed flatbread (like corn tortillas), you’ve got a middle eastern dish!  (I’ll soon post my hummus recipe to add as a condiment)

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