On friday, I started sneezing at 8am. I didn’t slow down until 8pm. Despite working from home and generally avoiding sick people, there was one inlet for infection that I forgot: I pick up medications at my local pharmacy. I often have to wait in line at the pharmacy counter, surrounded by red-nosed, snuffling, coughing sick people. I will admit to occasionally cringing and trying to overcome the urge to flee so that I don’t get sick. Unfortunately I must have touched something that a sick person touched, and not been diligent about washing my hands before touching my face, so I picked up a lovely headcold. Luckily it’s remained here in my head and is not too bad (knock on wood).
Anyhoo, before I got sick I was going to post this recipe for my “zero alarm chili”, which I’ve had in my recipe book for a while, and is gluten free. I could have sworn I had posted it before, but I can’t find it in the archives so I guess not. This is a recipe I made up myself, based loosely on a recipe for vegetarian black bean burritos I got out of a cookbook a ways back. If you want to make a vegetarian version of this recipe, just leave out the ground meat and substitute another can/couple of cups of black beans. If you like spicy food (which I do not), you can spice it up with extra spices, extra spicy salsa, throw in some chile peppers, etc.
Just a note: all pictures here are of me making a double batch.
Ingredients (for a single batch)
- 1 medium onion
- 2T oil (canola or olive is what I use)
- 1T cumin (I have a big container from the local hispanic supermarket in our old neighborhood)
- 1T chili powder (I have this from the dollar store, it has…very subtle flavor [read: dollar store spices are generally old, crappy, and mostly tasteless])
- 1T garlic powder (the one I use is organic, has great flavor)
- 1lb ground turkey
- 1 can (or 2 cups pre-prepared) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (or 2 cups) diced tomatoes
- 1 small can (or 1 cup) tomato sauce
- 2T salsa (I use a very mild salsa)
- 1/2 can tomato paste
- Foolproof Brown Rice (optional)
- Cheese (optional, I love a good super sharp cheddar mixed with some monterey jack.)
- Pre-prepare the brown rice. I start cooking the chili once the brown rice is complete.
- Start by heating oil over medium high heat in a pan. add onion, sautee until onion softens and becomes translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Add cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. stir frequently and let onion soak up some of the spices for about 3-5 minutes.
- Add crumbled ground turkey and brown, stirring occasionally. Skip this step if you want the vegetarian option.
- Once the meat is browned, add black beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salsa. Stir to combine.
- Taste. Add more salsa/cumin/chili powder to taste.
- Lower heat to simmer, cover, and stir occasionally. About 10 minutes should do.
- Spoon about half a can of tomato paste into the chili and stir to combine and thicken.
- Serve chili over a bit of rice, top with some good sharp cheddar for flavor and some monterey jack cheese for melty stretchiness.
This recipe is cheap and easy, and a good tasty solid meal for us non-spicy mostly-Italian-food-eating New Jerseyans. I’ve always gotten good reviews. I made this for our housewarming party this year, threw it in a crock pot to keep it warm for the day and it was very well received. I almost always double the batch when I’m making it, I get 6 or so days of dinners for two out of a double batch. Some day I hope to have fresh ingredients rather than canned, but for now I’ll go with this.