It’s been cold here in Piemonte. Like, wake up in the morning and find a thick grey layer of fog coating everything kind of cold. The kind of weather that makes you want to stay hidden under a sea of blankets type of cold.
Though I’m used to brisk weather as a result of being a Toronto native, the fall time temperatures in northern Italy are distinctly different. This difference is described by many Bra locals as the region’s humidity that fights with the cool temperatures to add an extra chill to your spine.
Because temperatures have been dipping, I've been craving stick-to-your-ribs meals. I want culinary comfort. To be wrapped in a burrito blanket. Bring on the soup, brodo and, of course, chili!
Though I could have made my dad’s famous chili (of which I will post a recipe if he allows!), I decided to try something a little bit different and turn a classically vibrant red chili into a healthier white version with some simple substitutions.
Using turkey as a leaner protein option eliminates some calories. Likewise, by adding a healthy portion of veggies this chili also renders this a slighter lighter option...but don’t quote me on that. Chili is still chili at the end of the day. That said, the fantastic thing about this hearty bean and meat stew is that it’s quite filling. It’s guaranteed to satisfy your hunger, but you can also have peace of mind that you’re getting all your food groups in.
Another awesome thing about chili is that it’s essentially a one-pot dinner option. Though I purée half of my white beans with a little water added, you truly can skip this step and do a rough mash with a spoon. However, I find that puréeing creates a nice velvety texture to the stew.
Though I thought I was going to end up with some decent leftovers for another day, we happened to have an impromptu gathering where unfortunately, all the chili was eaten! But that's okay because I was more than happy to send off one of our classmates (who after some hard thought decided to leave the master program), with a warm bowl of chili made from the heart… Raquel, I miss you already!
Anyways, this white bean and turkey chili was a hit with my guests and roommate, so it will definitely be something that I will continue to make well into the winter. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
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White Bean Chili *Makes 4 servings*
1 tablespoon of oil olive
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb (1 package) ground turkey
2 potatoes, chopped
2 bell peppers (assorted colours), chopped
1 1/2 cup corn
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
Pinch of red chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 vegetable bouillon cube
4 cups water
2 cans of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Heat olive oil and butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot and garlic and sauté for five minutes.
Toss in the ground turkey and break apart with a spoon. Once meat has browned, add the potatoes, peppers and corn and cook for about ten minutes.
Add vinegar, spices, bouillon, water and half the beans. Bring to a boil.
In a separate bowl, drain one can of beans and puree with a splash of water. Add this mixture to the chili and stir.
Cover and let stew for 30 minutes over medium heat. Enjoy on its own or scoop over a bowl of rice.