I’m dreaming of warm California weather today. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re on day number ‘I’ve lost count’ of clouds & rain while my friends to the East are getting the snow storm of a lifetime. Back in November, my husband and I spent an amazing week touring around southern California, which of course included a day at Disneyland. Walking around the park there were a lot of great food choices but I took note of all the people eating hot chili in what we would consider summer weather. Everyone else was bundled in warm jackets and pants while we were sweating in t-shirts and shorts! We may also have been sweating from the 30,000 steps we took while running around the park trying to avoid the line-ups, but either way our definition of cold is clearly very different.
For me, chili is the ultimate winter food and is perfect for feeding a large group of people – say for an upcoming Super Bowl party? (or my bottomless-stomached husband). I like to make a big batch of chili when having friends over – once the chopping is done it becomes pretty hands-off as it cooks, allowing you to be with your guests rather than in the kitchen. Then your guests or family members can create their own chili bowls by customizing the toppings. You can also make chili a day or so in advance which is why this recipe has a permanent spot on my make-ahead dinner list.
I’ve been playing around with this recipe for some years now, mixing different types of beans and vegetables and have finally found the perfect combination. Kale is the surprising ingredient in this chili, but I love how it stands up well to the long cooking time and also I’m happy whenever I can get something green into a meal. If you want to make this chili vegetarian, which I often do, simply omit the ground turkey and add a second can of beans.
Hope you all are managing to stay warm. Me, I’ve got a belly full of this chili!
Black Bean Turkey Chili
Serves 6-8 people
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeños, seeds removed and finely diced
- 10-12 button mushrooms, sliced (4 cups or ~8 oz)
- 1 796ml can diced tomatoes, including the liquid
- 1 796ml can crushed tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini, diced (2 cups)
- 2 cups of frozen corn kernels
- 1 540ml can of black beans, rinsed
- 1 bunch of kale, middle stem removed and leaves chopped.
- 2 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Toppings: green onions, cilantro, grated cheese, avocado/guacamole, sour cream, diced fresh tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, hot sauce, tortilla chips, cornbread….let your imagination run wild!
- Heat oil in a 5-quart dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink, ~5-7 minutes.
- To the turkey add diced onions, garlic, and jalapeños. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions begin to soften.
- Turn down the heat to medium and add the spices. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, cooking the spices in the oil will develop a deeper flavour and take away the raw spice taste.
- Next add the mushrooms, diced and crushed tomatoes. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Add zucchini, black beans, corn, and kale. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning to taste and continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. At this point you can cover the chili and turn heat to low and keep cooking for up to a few hours – the longer it cooks the more flavour you will develop.
Sorry for the hiatus.
It’s been a busy past few months, including two wonderful weddings – one of which was my own! I’m happy to be back in the kitchen and excited to use all of our new wedding gifts and matching cookware. I feel like such a grown-up.
My first introduction to congee was a few years ago at one of my husband’s bi-monthly family dinners. A few times a year, Popo (grandma in Chinese) makes a huge vat of turkey Jook, another name for congee. Congee is a popular Asian rice soup made by cooking rice in water or stock until it has broken down to a porridge consistency. At first I have to say that I was not overly fond of its bland taste but saw the potential to spice it up.
As the the name of this blog would suggest, I’m all about breaking bland so I had to try making my own version. Loaded with lots of fresh ginger, turkey or chicken, and a variety of delicious toppings, this meal is now on my comfort food rotation. I like to add sautéed mushrooms and bok choy, because for me, a meal isn’t complete unless its got veggies! Congee is a great way to use leftover roast turkey, say after Thanksgiving or Christmas – and it freezes well, so why not double the recipe?
Don’t tell Popo, but I like my version best, shhhh….
Serves 4-6 people, recipe by Kirsten
1 cup of long-grain white or brown rice (pictured above is with white rice)
3 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
8 cups of homemade turkey stock (or 4 cups store bought stock + 4 cups of water)
1 cup of cooked, shredded turkey
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Toppings: choose as many as you like
– chopped green onions
– chopped peanuts
– sautéed mushrooms
– steamed bok choy
– crunchy chow mein noodles
– soy sauce
– Sriracha or other hot sauce
– sesame oil
– soft poached egg
1. Place rice, ginger, and stock in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the cooked turkey and cook for another 15 minutes or until the rice has broken down* and resulted in a thick creamy soup. If the soup is too thick you can add some water, 1/2 cup at a time, until you reach a desired consistency.
3. Add salt, sugar, and rice vinegar. Adjust seasoning to taste.
4. Serve immediately with toppings of choice.
*If using brown rice you will find it takes longer to breakdown than the white rice.
For me, this recipe is the definition of comfort food; a hearty stew with chunks of tender turkey and vegetables, all topped with flakey biscuits, what more could you ask for? This is one of my favourite ways to use up leftover turkey, say after Thanksgiving, but I’ve been known to cook chicken with the sole purpose of making this dish. It’s just that good.
And don’t throw away those leftover turkey bones, make your own stock! If you don’t have time right away you can freeze the bones in a sealed plastic bag, and then when you are ready simply cover the bones with water in a large stock pot and simmer uncovered for a few hours. For more flavour I like to add chopped onions, carrots, and celery as well as a good pinch of salt. Once you strain the stock and skim off the excess oil, I suggest you portion the stock into small containers (of about 1 cup) and keep them in your freezer. This way you have stock on hand which can be quickly defrosted and added to soups, risottos or any dish that calls for stock.
What’s your favourite way to use leftover turkey?
Turkey Stew with Herbed Cheddar Biscuits
Recipe by Kirsten, makes one 9×13 inch casserole dish, serves 4-6 people
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced in ½ inch cubes
¼ cup all purpose flour
3 cups of stock (preferably homemade)
2 ½ cup cooked, chopped turkey or chicken. (1 turkey breast or 2- 3 chicken breasts)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper
2 cups of white or whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup milk
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- In a large pot or Dutch oven heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery, sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in ¼ cup of flour and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add stock, potatoes, and thyme, stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-heat and cook for 10 minutes until sauce thickens. Note: Potatoes will be slightly crunchy but they will continue to cook in the oven. Stir in cooked turkey and parsley. Transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 F
- Prepare biscuits: In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cheese and parsley. Mix in oil and milk until just combined. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead 3-4 times to form a ball. Press into a ½ inch thick circle. Using a cookie cutter or a round glass, cut dough into rounds and place on top of the stew.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the stew is bubbling and biscuits are golden brown.