Wednesday, January 14, 2009

{twd} savory corn and pepper muffins with turkey chili

When I was growing up, my mother often ordered take out from the same Chinese restaurant. And every time, when she gave her name for the order, the woman on the phone would exclaim, "Ahhhhh it's Cheryl. No spice! No spice for Cheryl." That's right. My parents order their Chinese food with "no spice." Not mild, because, as my mother explains, that means that there is still some spiciness in the dish, and they want none whatsoever. To them, pepper is spicy. So you can imagine that it took me a while to discover that I actually like spicy food. It started with a few nibbles off of friends' plates. Then I moved on to ordering hot and spicy soup, buffalo wings, and spicy curries for myself. But I'm still working on spicing things up at home. Sure I'll add jalapeno to my guacamole, and a few shakes of red pepper flakes to pizza or pastas, but that's about as far as I've ventured down the spice route.

So when I saw that this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe included chili powder and jalapenos, I was a little nervous, but excited to try something out of my comfort zone. And to really push the boundaries, I decided to make a chili to go along with the muffins. How much did I push the boundaries? Lets put it this way--my mom's chili calls for a quarter teaspoon of chili powder. Mine? A quarter cup. The muffins were wildly successful. They are sweet, savory, and perfect crumbled over the top of a bowl of chili.

The chili is good as well. It has a deep and complex flavor, and you'd never know that it was made with turkey instead of beef. But, to be honest, I think that I like my mom's tomato based recipe better. Next time, I'm going to make it her way--with some kicked up spices, of course. I'll just make sure not to feed any of it to my family.

This week's Tuesdays With Dorie Recipe was chosen by Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake (one of my favorites blogs!) and you can find the recipe here. The only change I made was to use light buttermilk (hey, it's January and I'm still devoted to those New Year's resolutions!)

Turkey Chili
Adapted from Bon Appetite, February 1997 via Epicurious

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
4 oz. tomato paste
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, cut into pieces
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup beer
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can kidney beans
1 15 oz can black beans
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
cayenne to taste (optional)

red onion

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add turkey and stir, breaking it apart with your soup until the meat is no longer pink. Add chili powder, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and tomato paste. Then add tomatoes and their juices, beer and stock (I started with 1 cup of stock and added more as needed). Turn down the heat and simmer the chili for about an hour. Add beans and cook about 20 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning. At this point, I added about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, because I like my chili a little sweeter and tangier. I also added a dash of cayenne for a little more heat. Top chili with chopped cilantro, onion, avocado or cheese.


The Food Librarian said...

I'm glad you didn't inherit the No Spice gene. The post cracked me up! Both your chili and muffin look great!

Teanna said...

Your photos are gorgeous and thanks for sharing that turkey chili recipe! It looks delicious!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Both the muffins and the chili look great! I have a few "no spice" people in my family too.

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are gorgeous! I can't believe your parents would order things with out spice at all. Crazy!

I'm glad you liked the muffins.

LyB said...

I make my usual chili with ground turkey, it's really good. Great looking muffins! :)

Anonymous said...

aren't you glad you went out of your comfort zone? those muffins look so yummy, and the chili...mmm. can't go wrong with that heaping of shredded cheese! great job, and i love your pictures :)

n.o.e said...

I love your chili and muffin post - and we live on the spicy side at our house too. My mom's chili con carne was pretty mild, and I've never tasted one quite like it. I don't care for the flavor enough to replicate it, though most of her other recipes are comfort food for me.

Jaime said...

both your muffins and chili look tasty!

kim said...

i totally relate, my mom is the same way with spice!! your muffins look delicious, and i am going to have to try that chili! :)

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Bridgett said...

The chili looks divine. Who can resist a steaming bowl? Very impressive meal.

Chrissy said...

The muffins look great! Everyone in my family likes spicy foods, although mostly in moderation. (Except for my brother, who I'm pretty sure would drink hot sauce from the bottle. He barely stops short of putting it on pancakes.) I've been in the mood for chili lately (and, of course, trying to stick to a resolution), so I might have to try this recipe with the turkey. Thanks for the ideas!