Girltime is important. One of my favorite things about Sweetie is that he knows that I occasionally have a need to talk about my hair, Target, birth control, window treatments, Natalie Portman's hair, my friend's hair, my friend's daughter and her dating adventures, Being A Woman In The Workplace, and where to find a good mani/pedi where you see people really clean the footbowls. That's Girl Night, usually a la mode. Not only does Sweetie recognize my need to have these, he's well aware of his own need to not spend 3 hours discussing said topics. Win/win.
So my friend TechGirl decided to host a Girl Night to celebrate her birthday a few weeks ago. Remember on the Flintstones, when Fred would smell something yummy in the kitchen and would float in there to see what smelled so good? I nearly did that. She had a pot of chilli going that smelled amazing on that unseasonably cold evening.
And yet. I haven't eaten red meat for literally twenty years. Sigh and inwardly pout.
[Aside - My mama taught me that when you are invited to dinner there are two and only two acceptable responses. They are "Love to, thanks - what can I bring?" and "I'm so sorry, but I have another commitment that evening. Let's get together soon." Mom was right. I make an exception for food allergies and religious restrictions. A good host does not want to kill you or send you to Hell.
Please note that the following were NOT on the Acceptable Response List -
"Dinner? Is it organic vegan? No? Do you mind if I bring a pot of clean dirt to snack on while everyone else eats the creature who sacrificed its life for you?"
"Is it Atkins-compliant? Oh, all you have to do is leave the breading off the fish, skip the French fries and make it a salad instead from this list of approved vegetables, and..."
"You know I hate pork chops, right?"]
Back to the story. So I was in the presence of this wonderful-smelling chilli, catching up with my friend and her daughter before everyone else got there, and I was getting hungry. When everyone got their food and I had a bowl with rice and cheese, TechGirl said, "You know this is turkey chilli, right?"
Obviously not! Oh, happy day and thoughtful hostess!
I asked her for the recipe and, since she happened to be having a life instead of clinging to her e-mail, she got it to me within a few days. By then I had already tracked down another recipe and made it - such was the power of her dinner.
Both were excellent, so I'm posting them both. TechGirl's is in her own words. Both freeze very well.
TechGirl's Crockpot Turkey Chilli
The 'recipe' is really simple. The chili works best in the crockpot. The ingredients are:
1 packet of McCormick's Chili Mix
1 packet of McCormick's Hot Chili mix
1 diced onion
2 lbs of lean ground beef or ground turkey
2 cans of whole or diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of kidney beans.
First, put the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and kidney beans in the crockpot with the Hot chili mix, stir and set crockpot to high. While that is heating, put a little vegetable oil in a skillet and brown the diced onion. When done, add the onion to the crockpot.
Next, crumble and brown the meat with the regular chili mix. Once done through, add to crockpot, stir and turn crockpot down to low. Simmer for at least 2 hours for extra flava.
Serve with rice or chips, cheese, sour cream, whatever extras you like.
This other recipe is from the Food Network - we don't have cable so I haven't seen any of their shows, but the recipe was terrific. I didn't have beer onhand so I substituted chicken broth. If you're using ground beef you can substitute beef broth for the beer.
Thirty-Minute Turkey Chilli
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (kind of a lot - you can easily go to two)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped (I used a garlic press)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 chipotle chile en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 1 tablespoon sauce (scrape out the seeds to cut the heat)
1 pound ground turkey
1 (12-ounce) Mexican lager-style beer (or substitute broth)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Sliced scallions, cilantro sprigs, avocado, sour cream, grated Monterey jack cheese, and/or tortilla chips, for garnish, optional
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile and sauce; cook 1 minute more.
Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes.
Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes.
Add the tomatoes--crushing them through your fingers into the skillet--along with their juices and the beans; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes.
Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the garnishes of your choice.
Cook's Note: A skillet's larger surface area reduces sauces faster than simmering in a saucepan.