I must admit that I am a little reluctant to share this recipe. It’s near and dear to my heart so perhaps I should want to show it off, but then it’s also become something of a signature recipe in our house. We have served it to most of our friends and family at one time or another, and everyone who has tasted it loves it. We also have to search high and low for some of the ingredients, as they aren’t always readily available in the suburbs of Boston. So I confess that I have guarded this recipe a little jealously, as it is OUR recipe.
Really, I should just get over myself, it’s not as if we even developed the recipe ourselves, although it has evolved somewhat since it came into our possession. It originally came from a chili cookbook on my sister-in-law’s bookshelf, and if I could remember the name of the book, anybody could look it up for his or herself. But there is something about this dish that signifies us – my husband and me and our life together. The southwestern flavours are reminiscent of our time in the Southwest, where we met and fell in love. It isn’t gourmet, but it is comfort food at its best and our household is one that prizes comfort over formality. Every fall, we make vats of it for the freezer, and every time I eat it, I feel cozy and warm. It’s a little like slipping into your favourite jeans and sweatshirt and cozying up on the couch with a dog-eared copy of your favourite book, while your loved one does the same. It’s just THAT kind of recipe. The one you go back to again and again, the one you never get sick of, no matter how often you have it.
Now, with that build up, I’d better just give you the recipe and let you decide for yourself. If you love it, you know who to thank. If you don’t…well, there is no accounting for taste!
Turkey Chili Verde
2 pounds fresh tomatillos or 3 18oz cans of whole tomatillos, drained
2 large onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp ground cumin
4 pounds ground turkey
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 4oz cans mild green chilies, drained
1 tbsp cornmeal
1 14oz can white beans, rinsed and drained OR 1 1/2 cups dried white beans, cooked
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 canned whole chipotle chilies in adobo, minced
In a blender or food processor, puree the fresh or canned tomatillos. Set aside.
Heat the oil in large stockpot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and five of the garlic cloves and saute until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and stir for another 30 seconds.
Add turkey and continue to stir, breaking up lumps with the back of your spoon, until turkey is cooked and no pinkness remains. Add tomatillo puree, broth, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper.
Simmer mixture, uncovered, for one hour. Add the bell pepper, green chilies and cornmeal and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.
Add beans and remaining garlic and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes or until beans are heated through. Add more salt to taste.
Discard bay leaf. Stir in cilantro and minced chipotle chilies. Or you can do as we do, and add the chipotle to the individual servings, so that those with less tolerance for heat (aka my children) can go without.
Serves 6-8. It’s great garnished with shredded cheese, fresh avocado and a little sour cream.