Chili wasn’t my thing for a long time. I didn’t have it growing up and frankly, it usually looked like slop you’d get plopped onto a plate at a grade school cafeteria. Later on in life, though, I started to appreciate chili, despite its homely looks. Its easy to make, requires only one pot, and welcomes many toppings and garnishes.
This recipe is a turkey one, but you can use any meat of your choice. Unsweetened cocoa powder and chipotle chiles in adobo sauce add an earthy and smoky background and, the pièce de résistance: cheddar-cornmeal biscuits. Love.
TURKEY CHILI with CORNMEAL-CHEDDAR BISCUITS
Serves 6 to 8
For the Chili:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1½ pounds ground dark-meat turkey
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 (14-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, chopped, liquid reserved
For the Cheddar-Cornmeal Biscuit Topping:
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small dice
1 cup (4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Chopped cilantro leaves
Hot Sauce or pickled jalapeños
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425˚F.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cocoa powder, chipotle chiles, cumin, and oregano, and cook, stirring, until vegetables are well coated and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the turkey, 2 tablespoons vinegar, Worcestershire, and mustard and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, and tomato liquid and simmer, mashing approximately half of the beans with the spoon (this will help thicken the chili), until the chili is thickened, 10 to 12 minutes.
- While the chili is simmering, prepare the biscuit topping. In a large bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Working quickly, rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles wet sand. Add the cheddar cheese and buttermilk and stir with a rubber spatula just until combined.
- Remove the chili from heat and, using a 1/3-cup measure or an ice cream scoop, top the chili with the biscuit dough. Bake until biscuits are golden, about 15 minutes. Serve with optional garnishes.