Learning As I Chop

What Do You Eat When It’s Cold Outside?

Posted in Baking/Cooking by R @ Learning As I Chop on January 13, 2011

Every weekday morning, unless it’s been already planned, I get an email from H that includes the following – what do you want to do for dinner? If we’re busy, tired or feel like indulging, we’ll order in. Otherwise, I brainstorm and/or peruse food-sites on my lunch break. Lately I’ve been into fast dinners that use a small amount of plates and hence involve a small about of dishwashing. To H, it’s not dinner if meat’s not involved. So when I found this recipe on Food Network, I knew it was the one.

Thirty Minute Chili

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 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
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 (12-ounce) Mexican lager-style beer
  • 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.

After work, off to the store I went. I was excited – it was an evening of firsts. First time cooking chili (I’m no Texan) and first time using beer in my food. The recipe called for a Mexican lager. Have you heard of one? I’m not a beer person, so I spent a good five minutes staring at my options and trying to decide which one to buy. Sure, there was Corona, but it didn’t say “lager” on the bottle. I finally decided on a Stella. A lager is a lager, right? Wasn’t so sure.

I also wanted avocado but couldn’t find a good one. Do you know how to pick an avocado? I’m usually good at it, but the supermarket had a handy little sign next to its selection. (Perhaps that’s why the ripe ones were gone.) Here’s a tip – place the avocado into the palm of your hand and give it a light squeeze. If it succumbs to your pressure, place it into your cart. If the shell stays sturdy as a rock, try another. If it can be smushed, it’s overripe and brown inside. Not for you. There’s nothing like choosing the perfect avocado. It’s a combination of excitement of pride and pleasure that I hope you will soon experience.

I followed all of the directions and made a bit of a mess. Some splattering over the pan. Though delicious, chili isn’t the most photogenic food. No pictures turned out well. However the dish was wonderful, especially topped with cheese. Comforting, warm and filling. I definitely recommend it. Enjoy!



One Response

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  1. Eleanor W. said, on January 14, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Sounds delicious! I think Tecate would work as a Mexican lager beer. That’s my guess. I am going to try to make chili in my slow cooker- my new favorite ally for winter cooking. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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