Like Picasso, I go through periods where I am obsessed with one ingredient. I’ll put it in everything, much to the annoyance of anyone who frequently eats my food.
DISCLAIMER: Before I continue, please don’t think that I’m saying that I cook like Picasso painted. I’m not delusional. Okay, back to the blog.
I just want to explore the possibilities of new ingredients, broaden my culinary horizons. And I do so with every new vegetable or spice I experiment with.
Picasso had his blue period; I had my black bean period.
I discovered the magic beans years ago and put them in everything from salads to soups to shrimp nachos. A few months ago, I found a recipe for slow-cooker black bean chili while trolling my favorite foodie sites. It had tons of great reviews and seemed pretty simple, so I decided to make an attempt. It was an unmitigated disaster. I’m not one to cry over bad chili, but I was tempted, mainly because I acted against my better judgment and didn’t rinse the beans. The recipe said not to. Epic mistake, and I knew better. Saturday Chef Rule #8: Trust your instincts! Listen to that voice inside your head.
I loved the idea of black bean chili with ground turkey, and the flavors were there, so I did a major overall. I traded the slow cooker for my trusty Dutch oven. I rinsed each can of black beans so thoroughly they lightened in color. I added more vegetables. After a lot of tweaking and dozens of cans of black beans, I finally got a chili I love. It’s flavorful, but not overly spicy. It’s mild enough that my eight-year-old niece will gobble up two bowls of it. In fact, it was her idea to garnish it with cheddar cheese, a future foodie, that one. This is a tight, delicious, smooth chili, thanks to the black beans and ground turkey (another obsession of mine). It’s perfect on its own or you can put it on nachos or a hot dog or anything you want.
So start your black bean period, and try out this chili for Cinco de Mayo or, ya know, Tuesday.
Turkey Black Bean Chili
1 lb. ground turkey (85/15 mix)
1 yellow onion, minced
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups of bell peppers, red, yellow, orange, green, chopped*
1 teaspoon dried basil (or 5 to 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 15oz cans of black beans, thoroughly rinsed
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes and juice
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
½ tablespoon chili powder
1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided
Add ground turkey to hot, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season lightly with seasoning salt or salt and pepper. Cook until, stirring often, until turkey is nearly cooked through. Place in bowl and set aside.
In the same pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add minced onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Sautee onions until they are just beginning to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and minced garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the can of diced tomatoes and juices, and tomato paste. Stir and cook until tomatoes are heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the well-rinsed black beans, cooked ground turkey and enough broth to just cover the mixture, about 3 cups. Stir to combine. Season with chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper.
Stir to combine and cook until chili begins to boil. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Reduce heat to low. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes. I just crack the lid a little bit to let steam escape, and the flavors concentrate.
After 30 minutes, stir, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chili should be tightening up. Taste once more and add remaining tablespoon of vinegar and cook for 10 more minutes, uncovered. Plate and garnish with sour cream or cheddar cheese. Enjoy!
*Vegetarian option: Use vegetable broth instead of chicken and add one can of rinsed chick peas instead of turkey.