|Turkey chili and cornbread|
What makes that pot of chili even better is when it's cooked in a crockpot all day long so you can go off and do other things.
Speaking of winners, I made this chili a few years ago for an employee chili cookoff when I was working at a large security software firm (they called it the "Super Bowl of Chili" -- yeah, that's what passed for funny and clever to software developers). I did not win (so I guess the "speaking of winners" segue was a bit misleading -- sorry) but believe me when I tell you that I taught that group of geeks a thing or two about food presentation.
I like this chili recipe because it is loaded with veggies and the rest of the ingredients lean a bit to the lighter side; it has plenty of spice and flavor without promising to give you heartburn ... or worse.
I also love that this is a very roundabout recipe: I got it from Dinner with Julie, who in turn got it from FoodThought, and I'm sure we've all added our own little tweaks along the way.
Additionally, this recipe could easily morph into a vegetarian version if you leave out the turkey (add more black beans and squash to compensate) and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. And, as with many of the recipes I share with you, feel free to adjust the spices based on what you particularly like or don't like.
See? I'm looking out for everyone, so each of you can have a pot of chili cooking away on a cold winter day.
Bonus: I've also included a great (and super easy) recipe for cornbread, because, good lord, what the hell is chili without cornbread, right? The recipe comes from Alana Chernila's Homemade Pantry (which I highly recommend). I'm supposed to be cooking along on a chapter by chapter basis from Alana's book for the From Scratch Club's virtual book club, but I jumped ahead. The cornbread received seriously high praise from Mr. Ninj: he ate way more than his fair share and said, "This is the best cornbread I have ever eaten."
Evah! Now that's some cornbread!
Crockpot Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash and Apples (adapted from Dinner with Julie)
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 carrots, peeled and diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups apple, peeled, cored and diced
2 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey, cooked
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
10 ounces chicken broth
1 can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
(cilantro and sour cream, for serving)
Directions (oh man, this is the best part):
Throw everything in the crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve with cilantro and sour cream ... and cornbread.
(Note: I've entered this recipe in Miz Helen's Texas Star Chili Cookoff 2012 -- fun stuff!)
Best-Evah Cornbread Muffins (from Alana Chernila's Homemade Pantry)
(I made mini loaves because I have a cute mini loaf pan but the directions are the same for muffins)
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then add the butter, buttermilk and maple syrup and whisk to combine. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until combined (don't overstir). Pour the batter into a prepared muffin tin and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
Serve warm with chili!