Friday, October 5, 2012

Farm Fridays: New World Chili

What a nice Farm Friday! The past two weeks (during which I was on a blogging hiatus) we took home enormous and diverse piles of produce (it's entirely possible that attempting to finish my dissertation chapter while dealing with those piles is the reason behind that hiatus). This week was much more manageable, perhaps because the variety has calmed down a bit. Don't get me wrong - I love variety! But trying to find ways to use up that many things over the course of a week stressed me out a bit.

This week I found menu planning much easier, due to the reduced variety, and I managed to use a whole lot of produce in one fell swoop when planning today's dinner. I had some squashes (one acorn, one carnival) languishing in the basement from two weeks ago - today I noticed some blemishes forming, so I knew they had to be used. Chili was the first thing that came to mind.

Chili is perfect for this time of year because it wants the exact vegetables that are peaking: tomatoes, peppers, and winter squash. I found a great recipe for black bean chili with butternut squash from What Would Cathy Eat?, but I decided to tweak it a little. And by "a little," I guess I mean "a lot." I turned it into a clear-the-fridge catch-all. I kinda overdid it.

This is still a tasty chili - sweet squash offset by hearty beans, meaty turkey and smokey chipotles - I just messed up the proportions. In my zeal to use up the remaining vegetable stock in my freezer (since I was in the process of making another batch), I added way too much liquid. There were too many vegetables (if such a thing is possible) and not enough turkey and beans. In the recipe that follows, I have adjusted the quantities to more appropriate levels. The result should be a chili just as delicious as the one I had tonight, but more effectively balanced.

New World Chili
Adapted from What Would Cathy Eat?

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 - 1 lb ground turkey (I used 1/2 lb here, but add more for a meatier chili)
3 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (this chili was pretty hot - if you're not a heat lover, definitely reduce or eliminate the cayenne)
salt and pepper to taste
2 onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped (I used one red and one yellow - any color you have on hand will do, although sweeter peppers are preferable)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 chipotles in adobo, minced
2 lb tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped (I used regular slicing tomatoes, but plum tomatoes would be preferable if you have them - mine are reserved for canning)
2 c winter squash, diced (I used acorn and carnival)
1 c vegetable stock (or a combo of stock and your favorite beer)
3 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
sour cream or Greek yogurt for serving

In a large Dutch oven (mine is 5 quarts and I nearly filled it - even with the adjusted proportions, you'll want a big pot!), heat the oil. Add the turkey, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and stir, breaking the turkey up into small chunks, for 2-3 minutes, until cooked through. 

Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, jalapenos, and chipotles and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until the onions begin to look translucent.

Add the tomatoes (and any juices), squash and stock to the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 10 minutes, or until squash begins to soften. Add the beans and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the cilantro and serve, garnished with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.

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