Friday, April 22, 2011

Chili, take #35

Chili is one of those things that I've never made the same way twice. I have yet to find the 'perfect' recipe, and my favorite chilis I've eaten have been made by Potbelly's and my friend KP - and they're not giving up their recipes anytime soon.

I'm not even sure that this recipe counts as chili, because there are no chilis in it, and in fact not even many other veggies...but there are beans. Per a quick wikipedia search, it seems that 'chili' is merely a spicy stew - so I guess by that definition, this counts! (Though my version isn't even that spicy?) At any rate, I've been wanting to try out a black bean-sweet potato flavor combo for a while, and I had some ground turkey to use up as well - and considering Chicago's winter is getting its second wind, I felt like I needed a little something warm and comforting to counteract the still-dropping temperatures outside.

This chili is hearty, healthy, and full of aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, and even cinnamon - which goes perfectly in this recipe, and was a stroke of genius on my part at the last minute :)

First, you brown the meat, and get the veggies chopped and in the pot.

Then, you add the spices and let them really toast and coat all the ingredients with their delicious goodness for a few minutes.

Tomato sauce and black beans finish it off.

I actually kept it on the thick side this time so I could eat it with some rice, but adding just one 14-oz can of diced tomatoes next time will take this into soupier territory, perfect for dunking tortilla chips.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

1 pkg ground turkey (about 1 1/3 lbs)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 large sweet potato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 t salt
2 T chili powder (this chili was NOT spicy...I might add more next time!)
1 T cumin
1 t coriander
1/2 t cumin seeds (optional)
1/2 t oregano
1 small can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c tomato sauce
2 T taco sauce or salsa (you can just add a little more tomato sauce if you don't have this)
pinch cinnamon

In a large dutch oven or stockpot, brown the ground turkey in a little olive oil over medium heat for about 6-7 minutes. When nearly cooked through, add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, and salt to the pot. Lowering the heat slightly to medium-low, add all the spices except for the cinnamon, stirring to coat all the meat and vegetables, and cook about 5-7 minutes until the veggies are just starting to get tender. Add the rinsed, drained black beans along with the tomato sauce and taco sauce, and stir to combine. Allow everything to simmer together and the flavors to merry over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the pinch of cinnamon and stir to incorporate. Serve over rice with some cheddar cheese on top.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Keen on quinoa

Have you heard about keenwah quinoa? It's another one of those foods that is actually ancient, but has lately been re-discovered and touted for its health benefits. Similar in size and texture to cous cous, it's cultivated in South America and is one of only a few plant-based sources that provides complete protein. I've had a box in my pantry for a while, and seeing recipe after recipe on the interwebs inspired me to cook up a few cups last week to keep in the fridge for breakfast (with oatmeal and milk) and any other great ideas that came this one.

Paired with almost any fresh fruits/veggies and a little dose of dressing, quinoa becomes the perfect backdrop for a healthy and filling salad. I especially love this combination because the crunch from the radicchio and apples and the heartiness from the croutons make for a really nice texture!

Radicchio, Apple and Crouton Quinoa Salad

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 pink lady apple, chopped
1/2 head of radicchio, shredded
handful of celery leaves, chopped
1/4 cup homemade multigrain croutons (cube bread, toast in oven with olive oil, salt and pepper till crunchy ~ 5 min)
1 T homemade vinaigrette (lemon juice, dijon mustard, pinch oregano, salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil)

Cook your quinoa according to package directions, and add the cooked quinoa to a medium bowl. While the croutons are baking in the oven, chop up the apple and celery leaves and thinly slice the radicchio, then add to the quinoa bowl. Pull the croutons from the oven and add to the bowl, then toss everything together with 1 T of vinaigrette - or alternatively, dress simply with lemon juice/vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Because there's only 1 T of dressing in the whole salad, everything will stay nice and crisp (and not get limp and soggy) in the fridge, even for a few days - if you don't eat it first!