Pastimes

One of my resolutions is to learn more about sports, in particular football. I am terrible. There was a Buffalo Wild Wings ad on the radio awhile ago where a guy is posed with the question along the lines of – “Who are you going to watch the game with this weekend?” One of the suggestions turns out to be his mother who then goes on to exclaim “Football is my favorite show!!!” That is kind of how I am with the sport. In my defense, I spent quite a bit of my childhood in Europe where soccer reigns. Perhaps if I understood what a sack was other than a cloth or burlap container… I do, however, love how football games bring people together and give us an excuse to drink beer and eat some pretty fantastic comfort food. There have been times when I catch  the wing-feast extending well into the middle of the week for no reason and I have to plead with my hedonistic side to stop because my hands have taken on the smell of vinegary buffalo sauce no matter how much ‘japanese flower’ scented hand soap used and there is a faint, but present, red discoloration around my mouth. Sigh.

Aside from my self-declared love for wings smothered in buffalo sauce, chili coupled with delicious corn bread is one of the game-day foods I love the best to make. I whip up the cornbread, pop it in the oven then start with the main dish. Chili comes together fairly quickly, allowing you to top off your choice libation and make use of the simmer-setting on the stove. Set out bowls and let people spoon out portions as they please. I have opted to include a richer turkey-chili recipe, the beer and the peppers in the adobo sauce add all the depth you might fear would be absent in a chili lacking red meat. For extra spice serve jalapenos along with desired condiments.

Robust Turkey Chili

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped + 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can
1 pound ground turkey
1 bottle or can beer of your choice (stray from fruity, but that is just a recommendation)
1 (14.5 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 (15.5 oz) can kidney or red beans, drained & rinsed

Suggested Sides: Sour Cream, Scallions, Jalapenos, Shredded Cheese, Cilantro, Tortillas or Chips

Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a large pot. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until slightly softened, stirring occasionally. Add salt, chili powder and oregano. Cook stirring occasionally for two minutes. Add tomato paste and desired amount of chipotle peppers. Stir until ingredients are blended. Add the ground turkey, breaking up the meat in the pan with your spoon. Stir until browned. Pour in beer and turn heat down to medium low, simmering until liquid has reduced by half (about 8 minutes). Next, add the tomatoes by pouring the juice into the pot then breaking tomatoes up by hand and adding them to chili. I have found that it’s easiest crushing them while they are still in the can to avoid splattering. Stir in the beans. Occasionally I’ll toss in some canned corn for color and a bit of sweetness. Let the chili simmer on low for 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally.

Adapted from Food Network Kitchens

I am still on the search for a cornbread recipe I cannot wait to share. The last pan I made seemed so promising as the recipe had you add the batter to a pool of melted butter. While it smelled amazing in the oven and looked rather pretty upon presentation:

 

 

It was upsettingly drier than anticipated and I have had better luck with other (all-in-a-box) recipes. For curiosities sake, below is the recipe I used. On the upside, while not as moist as I usually like my cornbreads, it was definitely easy, tasty and soaked up the chili very nicely.

Old Fashioned Cornbread

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups medium-grind cornmeal
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk, more if needed

Variations: You may add bacon, shallots, corn, grated cheese, chili powder etc. if desired. –you just might need to adjust amount of liquid you add.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put butter into 10-inch cast-iron skillet or an 8-inch square baking pan. Place pan in oven to melt the butter. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix eggs into milk and stir and stir this mixture into the dry ingredients, combining just with a few swift strokes. Do not overstir. If the mixture seems dry, add another tablespoon or two of milk. When the butter and oven are hot, remove skillet or pan from the oven, pour batter into it and smooth out top. Return pan to oven. Bake about 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned and sides have pulled away from pan; a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.

Adapted from The New York Times


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