Move over, Red... Blond Chili is here
I once won a contest in Athens for my “red and black” (for UGA, of course) turkey chili with black beans in the “unusual” category. But it turned out every single entry won something. And the contest, organized by my Athens son-in-law, turned out to be his way of scoring free food to serve the volunteers on their Recognition Day at the nature center where he was the volunteer coordinator with a small budget.
To this friend of L&J in Boston I suggested a white chili, for example with turkey, white beans, no tomato or red chile powder, and cream. He made a more traditional chili full of fine beef. And got lost in the shuffle. So, since he didn't do it, here’s my entry. I think it’s exciting and delicious, hook or no hook. A more objective guinea pig, André, who tried it today said it was excellent. Of course, the day was cold and wet and he was working for me in the yard pulling weeds and raking leaves and got to take a break for free hot food. But seriously, this one is joining my repertoire. Now I need a chili cook-off to enter it in.
Note: The heat comes from habañero peppers, which are among the hottest in the world, over 200,000 Scoville units (jalapeños, by comparison, range up to 8,000 Scoville units).
One small habañero makes a whole pot of zesty “one alarm chili”
Two make “two alarm chili”
Three make “prairie fire chili”
Four make “emergency room chili”.
Blond Chili (Chile Blanco) Tim
1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
2 thick or 3 thin slices hickory-smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small whole orange habañero chile pepper, or more to taste
1 pound ground turkey, chicken, or pork
Water as needed
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 (16-ounce) cans navy or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup sour cream
Grated “queso blanco” (Mexican style crumbling cheese) for topping
Coarsely chopped cilantro for topping
Fry the onion, bacon, and olive oil together until the onion is softened and just beginning to turn golden. Lower the heat and add the garlic and the four spices plus the habañero pepper, and stir and fry gently one minute. Add the ground meat, raise the heat again, and break up the meat as it fries. When the raw color is fully gone, add a quarter cup of water, and simmer covered until the meat is becoming tender. Add a bit of water as needed, so there is always a little liquid with the meat. Mix in the salt. Add the drained and rinsed beans, and heat together about five minutes. Taste and season with salt if needed. Stir in the sour cream and simmer a few more minutes. Taste one last time for salt and add a little if needed. It’s best to make the chili ahead and store it to let the flavors mellow. Reheat to serve. Sprinkle generously with grated cheese and chopped cilantro.