White Chili

Last time we did the shopping, the market had ground turkey on offer… $1 a pound, buy ten, get one free… so, we stocked up, and I started looking for recipes to utilise it. I enjoy cooking with dried beans, and when I came across a recipe for ‘white chili’, using ground turkey and white beans, I figured I’d give it a shot.

The recipe:
White chili

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 chopped onion
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1lb. ground turkey, browned and drained
1 lb. cannellini, navy or great northern beans
4 c. chicken stock
1 c. corn
1 4oz. tin chopped green chile peppers, drained
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
chopped fresh coriander, for garnish

Soak beans overnight, or use the “quick soak” method: Add dried beans to a large saucepan, add water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to boil. Cook 5 minutes, then cover, remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour. Drain when ready to use.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and celery; cook until the onion is translucent. Add turkey, beans, stock, corn and chilies. Season with cumin and hot pepper sauce. Cover and cook for 60-90 minutes with the lid on, but tilted, until the beans are tender.

Serve with shredded cheese and chopped coriander.

We didn’t have plain cumin and I’d not thought to get any, so I used standard chili powder instead. I didn’t use a lot of tobasco, just a dash or two, really.

Periodically through the cooking, I tasted it, and it was bugging me… the broth was seriously lacking in depth. It was too late to add fresh garlic, so I resorted to garlic powder, of which I added a fair whack, along with a bay leaf. It still seemed a bit uninspired to me, so I added a little salt, maybe two good pinches, then about a teaspoon of Chachere’s, which still didn’t do it. Plenty of heat up front, but nothing to support it underneath… The Reverend suggested I let it continue cooking and see what it did, so I went away from the pot, muttering. Just before serving I added 4 oz. pepper jack cheese, cubed, and stirred that in until it was melted and blended through, rather than using the cheese as a garnish. We skipped the fresh coriander, and opted for multigrain tortilla chips.

The pepper jack added the depth I felt the broth was missing quite nicely, though next time, I think I may roast a head of garlic in advance and add a fair bit of that in.

All in all, a very tasty and unconventional chili, which has everyone is going back for a second helping.

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