2.07.2011

Bring A Spoon to the Superbowl...


In honor of the Superbowl throwdown between the Steelers and the Packers last night, my dad and I had a chili throwdown. His -- a white chicken chili; mine -- a recipe already in my armory -- Chipotle & Chocolate Chili. I knew I had to revise the original version I made, since the first time around there was too much heat for my mom and brother (who were the appointed judges for the throwdown...)


While they noshed on a quick guac that I whipped up....avocado, diced onion, tomato, cilantro and lime juice...Dad and I got to work.

After a few hours of battling in the kitchen, (followed by attempts to out-do each other's presentation for the judges), we all found it was hard to compare the two -- they were very different in their ingredients and each had its unique strengths. My dad's white chicken chili had a light, cannellini bean base with ample amounts of onion and several varieties of peppers that had been processed almost to a pulp. Though jalapenos were included, they were de-seeded, so there wasn't much heat to the chili, and in my opinion the shredded chicken came to overpower the flavor. Still, it was a delicious blend of ingredients.

My chili was the complete opposite -- it was dark and had a rich, smoky flavor. There was a perfect balance of heat and sweet from the union of chipotle peppers and chocolate. Last time I made the chili I used ground turkey, and since I often find ground meat a somewhat boring addition to chili dishes, I decided to do get creative. (Plus I had to separate my dish from my dad's to win points with the judges!) So I formed the ground turkey into small meatballs to maintain the meat's integrity and keep it from getting lost in the chili. This revision was noted by the others as a favorable aspect of the dish.

In the end, there wasn't a clear winner of the throwdown, however, my brother later told me under the radar that he thought mine was more "chili" while my dad's was more "soupy"...so I take that as an indication that mine was the favorite.

Here are some shots of the dueling dishes, followed by my revised chili recipe.

DAD'S WHITE CHICKEN CHILI:



The recipe he used was from Cook's Illustrated and incorporates the following ingredients:

Ingredients:
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves , trimmed of excess fat and skin
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 medium jalapeño chiles
3 poblano chiles (medium), stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
3 Anaheim chile peppers (medium), stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
2 medium onions , cut into large pieces (2 cups)
6 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
4 scallions , white and light green parts sliced thin


MY CHIPOTLE & CHOCOLATE CHILI WITH TURKEY MEATBALLS:




Ingredients:
Cooking spray
2 cups diced onion (about 1 large)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
_______________

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey breast
1 egg
1/4 cup homemade breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
_______________

3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce, minced
______________

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup light sour cream
Chopped green onions (optional)

Directions:
1. Assemble turkey meatball mixture -- combine ground turkey, 1 egg, 1/4 cup finely chopped onion and 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
3. Add sugar and next 9 ingredients (through chipotle) to pan, stirring to blend; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high head in a cast iron skillet. Using a spoon, dollup bite sized meatballs into the pan; cook for a few minutes on each side until browned and cooked through.
5. Add meatballs and unsweetened chocolate to the chili, stirring to melt.
6. Ladle chili into bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Garnish with green onions.

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