Sunday, January 3, 2010

warmth for the soul: turkey chili

If you live anywhere near the Northeast, you probably spent this weekend the same way I did: sleeping in as long as possible under your down duvet, choosing outfits based on the amount of fleece that can be layered underneath, and sipping multiple cups of hot tea to warm frozen fingers. We've reached a new low here in NYC (literally) and we city-dwellers have responded with ankle-length quilted coats, wool socks, gloves, neck warmers, earmuffs, scarves, hats and hoods cinched tight. There's really no way to beat it, so in the midst of hibernating, social outings for the weekend were limited to things indoors... with central heating.

I saw "Sherlock Holmes" on Friday along with the rest of the Upper West Side who apparently had the same idea of stealing away in commercial warmth. And I have to say, I actually really enjoyed the movie (and the heat of the jam-packed theater)! I think Robert Downey Jr.'s acting comeback has been pretty fab and maybe it's not a theater must-see, but it was totally entertaining. It also re-affirmed my girl-crush on Rachel McAdams and I want to steal her fuchsia dress from the movie and wear it around my apartment. And Jude Law has never been hard to look at ;)

Then last night's plans came together late in the day (I was so far under my duvet that I couldn't hear the phone ring) - but it ended up being the kind of night I want many more of in 2010. The "house party" seems to have been lost as I've gotten older, likely due to growing out of dorms and growing in to city apartments that don't have room to pack 'em in by the dozen. But last night one of my girlfriends suggested cooking "in" instead of braving the cold and going "out" to eat, and we wrangled a couple girls to get in on some chili-making and wine-drinking.

I've been cooking chili for the past few years and it's usually an all-day process with a slow simmer to let the flavors come together, not something you can whip together in an hour for dinner. But part of my chili education a few years ago lead me to a fun chili cookbook that features the best chili restaurant/diner recipes from each state. I've had good luck with every recipe I've tried from the book so when the girls requested a turkey chili, I found a recipe from Bakery Bar in Portland, OR that we decided to give a shot. We gathered ingredients and met at Julie's cozy apartment to cook it up (read: drink 3 bottles of wine and sing-a-long to the "Glee" soundtrack).

The chili was deeeelicious (I'm already planning a weekend chili-making session to stock my freezer with the spicy stuff) and cozying into Julie's poufy couch with a big glass of red wine and some of my best friends within arms-reach was the best way I could have spent my Saturday night. Just goes to show you don't need to spend $100 at one of NYC's finest restaurants to enjoy great food with close friends. And with this kind of chill in the air, I'd rather trek 20 blocks to Julie's apartment than wait for a West Village reservation in the freezing cold. Oh, and the best part? The meal + wine cost us $12/pp, and we each left with a "to go" container ready to re-heat. Couldn't have kicked off 2010 any better.

I wouldn't change a thing about this recipe - it was spicy (but I like spicy) so perhaps tone down the cayenne if you're sensitive to heat.

Bakery Bar Turkey Chili
Bakery Bar, Portland OR

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onions
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. thyme
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Two 28-oz. cans whole tomatoes with juice, pureed in a food processor
1 bay leaf (we left this out)
Two 15-oz cans pinto beans, drained
One 12-oz. can tomato paste
1 cup water

In a heavy 8-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and brown. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned, stirring the meat frequently to break it up. Add the salt, thyme, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, brown sugar, and cayenne, stirring well to combine, and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and juice, bay leaf, pinto beans, tomato paste, and water, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 60-90 minutes (ours went for about 50 minutes, just watch for the consistency you like), stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf. Serve with sharp Cheddar cheese, chopped red or green onions and sour cream, if desired. Serves 10.


nue said...

wow!! I must try this recipe because my husband loves spicy soup.

Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home said...

You know I looove chili and I've always wanted to make it but i've never actually made a plan to do it. Your recipe looks really good, a perfect dish for a freezing day. The cinnamon in the recipe is interesting!

I'm terrified of the icy tundra that is nyc right now - i'll be back in a week and i've heard nothing but complaining about the weather from people back home! Happy New Year!

Claire ( said...

wow, we might have ESP because I'm making Chili tonight! your sounds amazing AND i totally add cinnamon to mine (just like Skyline Chili). Oh and my bf really wants to see that movie, I"m glad to hear it was good!

Patricia said...

That sounds like a fantastic night. Friends, wine and Glee? I'm there. I've also been thinking about making chili lately (it must be the weather, though it's nowhere near as cold here, I'm just a wimp when it comes to cold weather). Thanks for the recipe and inspiration for a girls' night in.

Chow and Chatter said...

cute blog and great chili I want to see Sherlock holmes,


chelsea rebecca said...

OH. MY. i am so excited to try all of your DELECTABLE recipes! those icebox cookies are getting made this weekend!! adore your blog!

chelsea rebecca said...

oh and i saw sherlock holmes too and was surprised as i walked away majorly crushing on robert downy jr!
love your girl crush on rachel mcadams! haha.

chelsea rebecca said...

OH YES for sure girl! that is so EXCITING! two bakers in two fabulous cities i LOVE it!!!
GOOD LUCK! and thanks for the encouraging comment!!

Beth said...

First of all, thanks for all of the great comments guys!

Nue - I really loved the spicy kick in this chili, so your husband should love it!

Erika - Be afraid, be very afraid of NYC right now! We just got a light dusting of snow this morning and it's supposed to be FRIGID this weekend. Bundle up when you return!

Claire - I love that our posts coincided this week :) GMTA! And I LOVE Skyline... how are you so familiar with Cinci chili?

Patricia - Sometimes a girls night in is just what I need! Wish you could have joined us but I hope you try out the recipe!

Rebecca - Thanks for the props! I had fun this week checking out your blog, your daughter is adorable!

Chelsea - Definitely keep me posted on your application, and let me know how the icebox cookies turn out!

Claire ( said...

I know, love it! My god mother lives there and whenever I would visit her I would eat it :) I also am a huge fan of Graeter's ice cream (I'm not sure if i spelled that right). It's to die for!

Atticus and Juliet said...

Chili is the perfect meal to enjoy during these cold winter months. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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