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Entries in make-ahead (3)


Chocolate-Chipotle Chili is Alliterative, Awesome Chili

There's almost no way to make chili photograph well. Obviously, alliterative foods are the best foods. Such is the case with a recent creation: my Chocolate-Chipotle Chili!

Sometimes, the dishes I feature here at Hungry Sam seem to constitute a survey of "how to make awesome reasonably healthy food when you're broke." ("On a budget" is such a cliche. Besides, aren't most people, rich or poor, "on a budget" of some sort? Even a badly thought-out, credit-heavy budget?)

Chili is the perfect, ultimate, ideal "awesome reasonably healthy food for when you're broke." (So many adjectives!)

Now, I know you're already aware of my chili fixation (See my posts/recipes for Pumpkin Turkey Chili and Epic Turkey Bean Chili), but this is really something special. That's because this time, I thought to myself, "how can I make chili even more hardcore and decadent while adding more ANTIOXIDANTS!?!?" Because these are things I think.

The answer sprang to mind at once: I should use chocolate!

Click to read more ...


Of Lentils, Leftovers, and My Loathing for Celery

They say never to go grocery shopping hungry. This is doubly important when you're me. I'm a little...impulsive.

I went with a list and everything! I was going to make a Moroccan lentil stew, for which I needed just about all the constituent elements (celery, carrots, lentils, chicken stock, wine, mushrooms). The problem is, being hungry (even for Hungry Sam) I decided to multiply the recipe a few times without REALLY paying attention to, you know, the volume of the finished product.

Which means in addition to making too much (frozen for future meals of course) I also have SO MANY LENTILS left. I tried to find a photograph that would communicate the sheer quantity of lentils I have remaining, but all I could find was this tasteful picture of an Italian Lentil farm. Enjoy:

I also have so much celery. What the hell am I going to do with celery? I hate celery. Any food that cannot sustain you AND gets stuck in your teeth should just go extinct already. I suppose ants-on-a-log are an option, but still. GOD.

For my stew, I used this recipe for inspiration, but I departed from it in three significant ways:
  1. Cannellini beans are boring! Go with Garbanzo, Kidney, and Butter beans -- they absorb tons of flavor.
  2. The spices, as someone mentioned in the comments, aren't very Moroccan. I went with cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon.
  3. THIS IS KEY: instead of cooking the lentils in water, I used equal parts chicken broth and red wine. I don't know why I did this; it was incredible. (VEGGIES -- use vegetable broth)

The celery just sort of melted into the base; I'm never cooking with celery ever again. Forget that. I loved the richness of the mushrooms with the buttery, cinnamony lentils and the diced tomato, which added just the right level of savory tang. I'm always suprised that more people don't cook with cinnamon as a savory spice -- it always seems to lend a sharp, earthy flavor, one reminiscent of sweetness without being itself sweet.

Recipe's a keeper, though I will say it did not keep as well as I would have hoped and I ended up having to throw some out. Bah. Overall though, and despite the several hiccups in the process, a great cooking experience and one I would recommend.


Turkey Chili: Habanero Burns Ensue

If this blog makes you in any way I am some sort of cooking "expert," allow me to state unequivocally that I AM NOT. I am the slightly more sophisticated version of a 5 year-old who makes "soup" by stirring at ice cream or lemonade by combining lemons with...nothing.

What I am is enthusiastic. If what I make sounds delicious, that's because a) it is, but more importantly b) because I throw myself into every recipe or opportunity for experimentation with youthful and at times idiotic zest and vigor. I will soon have an EPIC FAIL and will blog about that too, I promise. Like the time I once made chicken biryani and simultaneously invented a new alloy of steel/chicken biryani.

ANYWAYS: My amateur enthusiasm comes out when I least expect it. The other day, while locked in fierce combat with the weather, I made about 2 gallons of Turkey Chili. As per several requests I have had, I will attempt to recreate the recipe (see bottom of the post). The point is, although I had experienced chili burns before, and although I KNEW habaneros (frequently spelled with a tilda over the 'n') are the spiciest chili pepper available in most grocery stores, I did not take proper precautions.

Proper precautions would have included:

  1. Using gloves of some sort;
  2. Using a wet towel to grip and handle the peppers;
Long story short, about ten minutes after using the peppers, I developed angry red burns on my fingers. This is because the oils in hot chilis include a compound called capsaicin, which is also in tarantula venom and used in the popular muscle pain ameliorate IcyHot.

The oil also got under my finger nails, which I discovered 3 hours (and several handwashes and aloe applications) later when I scratched my neck...and left angry red burns. Wowza.

Anyways, the chili was GREAT. I love to stuff chili with tons of beans, as many varieties as I can find, both for color and flavor. I used about 2.5 lbs. of ground turkey, 93% lean, and simmered it down longer than I needed to achieve a more intense, thicker chili. It's pretty healthy too; I go light on the oil and the turkey is lean. Other than that it's just veggies. Here's the recipe:

Pain-is-weakness Chili (okay, it's not THAT spicy.)

NOTE: ALL amounts are estimations, particularly for spices; I spice to taste and throughout the process.

2.5 lbs. ground turkey, 93% lean
olive oil
2 jalapenos, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 bell pepper (I like yellow for the color), chopped
1 habanero...or not. Minced.
2 T. tomato paste
1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes, peeled.
Small handful FRESH cilantro, stems separated from fronds
3 c. low-sodium chicken stock
3 T. minced garlic
T. cumin
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. chipotle pepper, ground
1 t. oregano
2 bay leaves
Pretty much as many beans of any variety you choose. I used 5 cans -- butter, black, black-eyed, kidney, and garbanzo. Drain and rinse.
Salt and pepper

  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven or other large, thick-bottomed pot (make the cookin' world go round?). Sautee garlic, then peppers, cilantro stems, and onions, seasoning with salt and pepper and some of the spices, until onions are translucent and sweating.
  2. Throw in the turkey, breaking up big chunks, until cooked through. Spice.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and paste, then chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cook about 45 minutes. Season and spice at several points -- it's important to remember the character of spices is different depending on the points at which they are added.
  4. Toss in the beans, cook an additional however long you feel like it (I did 30 minutes more). Add cilantro (fronds?) just before serving.