Even though the Super Bowl has never been a big event in our family (perhaps because the Eagles are so rarely involved), it's always a good reason to have a pot of chili simmering on the stove. That way, people can eat when they want, whether they are watching or not.
Chili is one of the all-time easiest one-pot meals for just such occasions, even for beginning cooks. I have made many versions over the years, from the basic ground beef and tomato and black beans to vegetarian versions with bulgur wheat and even a prize-winning Italian number with diced cherry peppers.
But my current favorite is this white chili, created by chef Jessica O'Donnell at the Good Dog Bar, better known for her mouthwatering blue-cheese burger.
She came up with the recipe in the summer, craving a lighter version of the winter favorite. But this interesting chili sold so well, she never took it off the menu.
It's built around tomatillos, jalapeños, white beans, cilantro, lime juice — and a splash of tequila, "just for fun," she said. It does add a lively kick to this hearty but not heavy chili. I substituted ground turkey for ground chicken, mostly because it seems to be more available in supermarkets now.
It is lower in fat than traditional chili, but not in flavor. And it meets my goal as a healthy, easy, and inexpensive dinner that my daughter can add to her repertoire.
When I e-mailed her the recipe, she was on her way to the grocery. She needed all the ingredients but one: the tequila. She already had that on her shelf. Great. Just what a mother wants to hear.
Good Dog White Turkey Chili
Makes 4 to 5 servings
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 small onions, diced small
1 jalapeño, sliced thin
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 pound ground turkey
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup tequila
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 pound tomatillos, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 15-ounce can chickpeas or white cannellini beans, undrained
2 cups chicken stock (canned is fine if you do not have any homemade on hand)
1/4 cup cornstarch (optional)
Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and grated cheddar cheese for garnish
1. In a large, shallow, heavy-bottomed pot at medium heat, sweat (cook without browning) garlic, onion, and jalapeños in the canola oil.
2. Cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent; do not brown. Increase heat to high and add the ground turkey. Season the meat with a generous amount of salt (I use a coarse kosher salt; if using regular iodized salt, use much less) and pepper.
3. Stir the turkey into the onion mixture, breaking up the turkey as it cooks so that it doesn't clump. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until all pink is gone from the turkey.
4. Drain any excess fat from the pot. Put back on medium heat and add the tequila (I use a silver tequila, but a gold would work as well), the lime juice, and the tomatillos. Stir this into the turkey mixture and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
5. Then add the cilantro, chili powder, ground cumin, beans with liquid, and chicken stock. Stir all of this into the mixture. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
6. Check the seasoning, add more cumin and chili powder for more heat. Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.
7. The chili can be served as is, or if you prefer it thicker, add the cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup cold water. Stir this into the chili and simmer for 10 more minutes.
— Adapted from the recipe of chef Jessica O'Donnell, Good Dog Bar
Per serving (based on 5): 488 calories, 34 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams sugar, 23 grams fat, 93 milligrams cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium, 12 grams dietary fiber