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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.

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….

Campfire Baked Beans

This recipe is very easy to translate from the kitchen to the campfire.  At a campsite, it’s a good thing that you have the open air to lift the aroma away and various activities to keep you occupied while you wait.  Cooking at home and keeping it in the kitchen, the smell is so rich and intoxicating, you’ll need a snack on hand while waiting and drooling over these beans.

Makes 10 portions

4 cups of chicken stock

1 lb. of great northern beans

1 cup of water

1 white onion, peeled and diced

6 oz. of pepper bacon (or bacon of your choice), chopped in 1/2″ chunks

2/3 cup of ketchup or catsup

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/3 cup of unsulfated molasses

2 tbs. of apple cider vinegar

1 tbs. of chopped garlic

1 tsp. of dried mustard

Clean the beans and soak in water for at least 12 hours.  Drain when ready.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Put the bacon in a 4 qt. dutch oven or larger, and heat over medium on the stove.  Cook for 10 minutes until it is slightly crisp but not cooked all the way.  Add the diced onions, and continue cooking until tender (about 5 minutes).

mix it up

mix it up

Add all other ingredients to the dutch oven and stir to evenly disperse. 

about 1 hour in

about 1 hour in

Cover and bake in the oven for 5 hours or until tender, stirring at least once per hour.  For the campfire, cover, stir hourly, and keep over heat until tender (you will have to check it for doneness).  At home or at the campsite, if the beans start to get dry, add a little extra water, 1/2 cup at a time.

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