The Shopper Kitchen: Chili recipe for a snowy day


By Angela McRae, The Shopper Kitchen

Snow days. They’re all I think about come January. Nothing gets my childlike hopes up as much as a forecast of winter precipitation, and I look forward to the run on bread, milk, and tissue at the grocery stores.

And on those all-too-few occasions when snow is headed our way, I do what my mother always did and cook a pot of chili. Vegetable soup will do if those are the only ingredients I have on hand, but a nice big pot of chili says, “Snow is coming and the electricity still works and I’m ready to hibernate and enjoy the white stuff for a few days.”

I’ve had chili just about every way imaginable, and I prefer a soup-like chili to a thicker chili. If chili sticks to the spoon, I want it served over a hot dog and alongside some onion rings and a Frosted Orange, if you get my drift.

Years ago, I was intrigued to learn that Texans insist that their chili have no beans. Some Texans even insist that their chili have no tomatoes, which makes me wonder why they don’t just call the mixture “taco meat” and get it over with. (I have a brother-in-law from Texas, though, and mean no disrespect. Some fine folks are Texans, even if they do have some strange chili-making ways.)

Local chili contests are always fun to watch, and I like to see what “magic ingredients” cooks use. Corn. Bay leaves. A pinch of this or a pinch of that. And these days, I like to add tea to my chili. I’ve used flavorful steeped teas in dozens of recipes over the years, and one of my favorite ways is to use tea as the liquid whenever I’m cooking chili. I’ve used green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and I’ve even added a slight touch of sweetness to my chili by using rooibos (often pronounced “ROY-bus”) tea.

Are you up for trying a new chili recipe this winter? Go ahead and gather the ingredients now. You never know when we might just get a snow day!

Turkey Chili with Beans
1 pound turkey or ground beef (I like to use turkey)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 small sweet red peppers, chopped fine
2-3 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can chili beans or other red beans
3 teaspoons rooibos tea steeped for 5 minutes in 1 cup boiling water, or use 3 rooibos tea bags (remove tea leaves or bags after steeping to leave only the liquid)

Over medium-high heat, brown the meat, then add garlic and red peppers and cook until vegetables are softened. Add chili powder, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans and bring to a boil. Add steeped tea and again bring to a boil, stirring well. Turn heat to low and let chili simmer for one hour. Yields 12-14 servings.

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