Saturday, October 28, 2006

Move over, Red... Blond Chili is here

In Boston a few weeks ago, a friend of my daughter and son-in-law who likes to cook mentioned he was entering a chili cook-off. I asked what his “hook” was. To win you have to have something different, catchy. Something cute to get you noticed. Good old “Three-Alarm Chili” bores judges. You have to have ostrich or maybe reindeer chili with chipotle, that sort of thing.

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
(serves 4-6)

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.


Blogger jim said...

Hello Tim! I have never been to a blog site until I heard about it from some semi-regulars at the Kitchen. I have been eating low glycemic for about 3 years and your reicpies are of great interest. Of course, I do not mix them with noodles, rice, etc. - just eat vegetables. I made the Thai chicken from a couple of months ago this weekend (with low-fat coconut milk)and will do the Belgian cabbage, now that I found the allspice berries at Phoenix. Wow, the food tastes good! Hope to see a favorite stir-fry vegetable reicpie with some variations someday. I could not find out more about you, so you might want to check out that option on the blog. It might need some spicing up. Thanks, Jim

6:19 PM  
Blogger jim said...


6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a chili cook-off next weekend sponsored by Effies' Club Follies at Little Kings! Check the Flagpole OutThere column for more info.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Tim Dondero said...

Jim: Thanks for your comments. And particularly thanks for your interest. If you let me know what are the no-nos for low glycemic foods, I'll get something into the blog with you in mind. In terms of finding out something about me, you can google me under "Tim Dondero", since I am one of the Donderos in donderos' Kitchen. I am also a physician, though hardly a nutritional specialist. Tim

9:50 AM  
Blogger cammie ives said...

I am so glad to have found your blog and the index to your recipes. What a treasure trove! I recently discovered the Buford Highway Farmers Market and I think your recipes will help me learn my way around. I made the blond chili last night. The flavor was great, but mine came out more like a casserole and less like the looser chili that I'm used to. In fact, we served it on our dinner plates alongside our salad. I would make this again, but might throw in a cup or two of chicken stock to loosen it up a bit.
I'm looking forward to trying another recipe later this week! Thanks.

8:23 AM  

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