Turkey Chili

No one questions that chili is a hearty dish, but does it have to be fattening?  By switching from beef to turkey, a significant amount of fat is eliminated, with zero sacrifice of flavor.  Cook time is disproportionate to prep time, so this is something that is easily started, forgotten, and then it’s practically ready!  Plus, leftovers the next day taste even better because there is more time for the flavors to marry and soak into the beans and meat!

turkey chili

turkey chili

Makes 8-10

1 1/4 lbs. of ground turkey

4 cups of beef broth

24 oz. of beer or ale

16 oz. of tomato sauce

12 oz. of dry pinto beans

1 can of kidney beans

1 large white onion

1/4 cup of chili powder

1/4 cup of corn flour

6 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbs. of tomato paste

2-3 tbs. of kosher salt (to taste, see below)

1 tbs. of cumin

Soak the dry pinto beans in water, preferably overnight.  Drain and thoroughly rinse the kidney beans.  Set aside for now.

Dice the onion, and cook in a dutch oven over medium-low heat on the stove until only lightly caramelized.  Turn the heat to high, then add the salt and meat to the onion, cooking long enough just to brown the meaat.  Add the chili powder, tomato paste, and cumin; stirring frequently, cook for 2 minutes.  Add the broth, beer, tomato sauce, pinto beans, and garlic, and cover to cook for 3-4 hours, or however long it takes for the pinto beans to be tender.  Add 1 tbs. of salt at each hour of cook time – but make sure to taste it first, because you don’t want to add more when it is already salted to your liking.  Add the kidney beans when 1 hour remains before being considered “done,” and add the corn flour when 30 minutes remain.

Garnish with shredded mild cheddar and sour cream, an serve with warmed corn tortillas or cornbread.

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Mikkeller Dim Sum

(Always drink responsibly.  Seek help when alcohol affects your life and the lives of those around you.  For readers of a legal drinking age.)

dim sum

dim sum

When a brewery has produced more than 6,000 different types of beer within seven years, it has to be commended for its tenacity.  Creativity clearly is flowing freely.  Mikkeller has impressed me before, but I’ve also been put off by the taste of one.  The Pilsner-style Dim Sum happily makes its home right around average – I hardly dislike it, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t knock my socks off, especially for the price.  With a golden head, 5% ABV, and unknown IBU, it’s light and refreshing.  Having been brewed with coriander and lemongrass makes it more refreshing, but honestly the lemongrass was very faint and the coriander was even more so.  This would be a nice accompaniment for an afternoon, outdoors, picnic concert.  Too bad now is not really the season for that!

Black Beans

You can’t get very far in Mexican cuisine without eating beans.  As a side dish, a component, or a main ingredient, they make their way into any menu, any time of day.  This recipe is beyond easy, as long as you have time.

black beans

black beans

Makes 4-6 servings

32 oz. of chicken broth

4 cups of water, plus a lot more for soaking the beans

1 lb. of black beans

1 white onion, diced in small pieces

1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

1 tbs. of chili powder

1 tbs. of ground cumin

1 tbs. (or two) of kosher salt (the second is to use to taste while cooking)

1 tsp. of dried Mexican oregano

1 tsp. of garlic powder

1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper

1 sliced jalapeño (optional)

Lay the beans out on a sheet pan and sort through them to make sure there are no rocks.  Fill a large pot with water, and put the beans in the water.  Let soak overnight in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 12 hours.  Drain the beans from the soaking water, and add all the ingredients except the second tablespoon of salt.  Stew for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until tender, stirring occasionally.  Taste for desired saltiness and add as necessary.  Serve with chopped cilantro, cotija cheese, and one of your favorite hot sauces, or wrapped up in a burrito, or spoon onto tostadas….

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