Are YOU a Chili Racist?
I’m not gonna lie – Erin’s Halloween post from yesterday cracked me up. I must say her Halloween looked far more entertaining than my night, during which I proceeded to drink an entire bottle of shiraz and pass out candy at my neighbor’s house because they actually decorated for the holiday and I felt it was far easier to mooch off of their hard work and holiday spirit than actually do any work of my own. Don’t worry – I hid my wine glass behind the porch railing every time the impressionable little kiddies approached, but I may have laughed a little too loudly when my neighbor’s husband told a costumeless teenage boy he looked like Justin Bieber.
Yes, I was that girl. I’m not proud.
Anyway, I think my lack of enthusiasm for yesterday’s holiday might stem from what it subconsciously implies – the cold is right around the corner. When I came home from Costa Rica, I noticed the leaves had started turning colors. I tried my best to ignore it. When I had to pull the heavy quilt over myself in the middle of the night, I tried to ignore that too. But the other night, when I felt compelled to make chili for dinner – chili, for godssake – I could ignore it no longer. The Cold is here.
And since I don’t want to be alone in my misery, I’m going to share my white chili recipe with you – my AWARD-WINNING chili.
That’s right – this recipe won the coveted Golden Ladle at my office chili contest in 2009. It even won a few votes in 2010, even though I wasn’t allowed to enter the contest as the reigning chili champ. Now those of you who can’t get enough of traditional, spicy red chili might initially repel the idea of a relatively un-spicy white chili.
But I will tell you what I told the skeptics during my Golden Ladle acceptance speech: Don’t be a chili racist – give white chili a chance!
I think I originally got this recipe from a grocery store, believe it or not. I don’t tweak this much, so here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 lb. sausage (I use Jimmy Dean’s hot sausage)
- 1 lb. (give or take) ground turkey (the more you use, the thicker your chili will be. You can use as little as 1/2 lb. and go as high as you want – I think I used just over a pound this time because I like my chili nice and thick)
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 onion
- 4-5 small stalks of celery
- 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic (it’s actually really easy to roast garlic yourself, but I already had the jar of store-bought stuff and for the purposes of this chili, it works just as well)
- 1 package of taco seasoning
- 2 (15.8 oz) cans of great northern beans
- 1 (14 oz) can of chicken broth
- 1 (4.5 oz) can diced green chiles (the store was out of these, so I picked up 4 fresh green chiles and diced them myself – a little more work, but still tasty)
- 1 (16 oz) can of refried beans with diced green chiles (This is the SECRET INGREDIENT, friends. That’s right – it’s the thing that people love when they taste it but can’t quite figure out what it is. Whatever you do, don’t skip this ingredient – it’s okay if you can’t find the kind with chiles – and DON’T tell them what it is!)
1. Turn on your favorite satellite music station and dice up your celery, onion and bell pepper. You should definitely sing while you’re doing this, but be careful about dancing – you are wielding a knife.
2. If you bought fresh chiles, go ahead and dice those up as well. Wear gloves if you’re smart, but if you’re me, forget the gloves and slice them into quarters lengthwise, slice off the seedy membrane part, and then chop up the rest. That stinging sensation on your fingers will go away. Eventually.
3. Warm up a pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, turkey, onions, celery and green bell peppers. If you’re using fresh chiles, add those too at this time. Sauté everything for 10-12 minutes until the meat is fully cooked and the veggies are soft.
4. Drain the excess grease, then stir in the taco seasoning. Cover and let cook for about a minute, just to let all the tasty seasoning goodness soak into the meat.
5. Remove cover and stir in the remaining ingredients (roasted garlic, northern beans (including liquid), refried beans, chicken broth, and the can of chiles if you didn’t use fresh).
6. Let sit on the stove, stirring occasionally, until everything is nice and warmed through. Serve with your favorite hot sauce on the side and enjoy!