Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Never Been Afraid of Any Deviation

Ranch Style Turkey Chili

What are you feelings on Rachael Ray?  She's been around forever and her approach to cooking has gone from brilliant to slightly shocking through the years.  When she came on the scene, she taught us many small tips that became daily saves.  I've watched top chefs tear her apart, breaking down her credibility.  I guess I'll forever be grateful that she came along and took some mystery out of complicated recipes, and in general made cooking more approachable.  She came up with the garbage bowl, and showed me how to fold in the tabs on my foil boxes.  She became so successful that they allowed her crappy husband's band to play on national television.  That humanized her for me.  Yes, she became a huge brand and cranked out countless recipes for years.  I drew the line when she added canned kidney beans to her Mexican pozole but overall, she influenced the masses and invited us into our own kitchens, leaving us less afraid to do our thing.  People can be snobs about food but I see us as just one level up from the wild ape, so pretences have no place in my kitchen.  If something tastes great at that moment, then I'm up for it.  Sometimes the best thing ever is a crispy bit on the bottom of a baking pan. 

For a few years I've been looking for a dynamic ground turkey chili recipe.  I've made several quick versions, that do the job just fine but sought a more refined, legitimate recipe.  I was browsing today and found Rachel's Ranch-Style Turkey Chili.  I dug where she was going, I would just make a few turns in the road.  Again, there she is opening doors, giving helpful ideas, inspiring the home cook. 

I added half a packet of Ranch dip, smokey Cumin along with a heaping tablespoon of flour to my turkey and onions while they were browning and allowed it to form a roux before adding stock.  I roasted Poblanos too but also added charred tomatillos and serranos, along with lots of Cilantro.  I didn't stir in the sour cream but allowed the individual to top with their own amount and combine how they like.  No dill or parsley or hot sauce added.

My Recipe:

4 Poblanos (charred, peeled and chopped)

2lbs of ground turkey

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 of a large onion chopped

1/2 packet of Ranch Dip

1 heaping tablespoon of flour

2 palms of Smokey Cumin

1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne

2 serrano

5-8 tomatillos charred and chopped

1 cup of fresh corn 

1 bunch of cilantro (stems first, then leaves at end)

5 cups of water or stock

3 cans beans, drained.  I used Cannelloni, small white and black.

You know how to make Chili.  The one detail that I learned from America's Test Kitchen is to allow the turkey to cook longer than usual.  Where it begins to really brown, but doesn't burn.  Add the spices and flour to toast.  This will build up that fond on the bottom but also ground turkey will develop a better meaty flavor.   Once everything is in the pot, let it simmer long enough, covered but stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick to bottom.  I couldn't wait past an hour. 

Garnish with what you like - I used:

Sour Cream

Green onion


White Sharp Cheddar

pickled jalapenos

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