A Bowl of Green

Chili always is good bet when the weather turns nasty. Nothing tastes better than a bowl of some piping hot chili when the wind is blowing new-fallen snow around, making for blizzard conditions.

I’d be making chili today if Therese hadn’t made a tasty batch yesterday. Hers isn’t quite as spicy as mine, but it’s pretty darned good, especially when she puts cornbread on top of it like she did.

My idea of chili is a lot different than that of most people. I think something can be chili if it has beans in it. (Texans won’t agree.) And you don’t have to have red meat to make it chili. (My editor doesn’t agree.) To me, there’s nothing wrong with chicken or turkey in chili.

The following chili recipe doesn’t contain beans but does have chicken. It’s not quite as spicy as I’d prefer, but you can kick it up a notch by adding some jalapenos.
Green Chili with Chicken
8 New Mexico or poblano chilies
2 jalapeno chilies (optional)
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 14-ounce cans chicken broth|
1 14½ ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup whipping cream or half-and-half
2 tablespoons cornmeal
Chopped chilies, crumbled Mexican cheese, chopped onion, minced cilantro, salsa
Heat the broiler or a heavy skillet over medium heat; roast the chilies, turning, until blackened on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plastic or paper bag; set aside to cool. Peel away blackened skins. (It’s OK if some charred bits remain.) Seed chilies; chop. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onions, garlic and cumin; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the chicken into ½-inch square pieces; transfer to the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring once or twice, until chicken is opaque, about 8 minutes.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, oregano and reserved chilies. Increase heat to high; heat to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes. Stir in cream and cornmeal; cook 10 minutes. Pass the garnishes at the table.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 299 calories, 43 percent of calories from fat, 14 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 13 grams carbohydrates, 29 grams protein, 780 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Jazzed-Up Stuffing

Just about everybody has a favorite stuffing they like to make for Thanksgiving Day dinner. I make the one my grandma and mom used to make.

But there are all kinds of stuffing. I was given a cornbread stuffing recipe by a co-worker, Megan LaPlaca, which her mom has been making for years (www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/Features/tag/food/). I can’t wait to try it.

And on my way to work today, I ran across artist Adam Kemp of Grand Forks, who is a native of Great Britain. We talked a little bit about Thanksgiving in his home country, and he said there are places there that celebrate the holiday, mostly for the benefit of Americans who are living overseas.

This Thanksgiving, he’s going to make stuffing for his in-laws, and his plans are to mix things up a bit, making one with walnuts, Italian sausage, celery and a little dried wheat bread.

When you get right down to it, you can put just about anything in stuffing, as the following recipe shows. It sounds a bit similar to what Adam is going to make, containing some of the same ingredients.

If you want to stray from tradition, give it a try. Or tuck it away for later use, maybe at Christmas.

Jazzed-Up Stuffing
½ stick (¼ cup) butter
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 12-ounce package herbed stuffing mix
½ cup chopped walnuts
3 cooked sausage patties or 4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup chopped, fresh sage leaves
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 14.5-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter in a large skillet; add the celery, green onions and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Stir in the stuffing mix, walnuts, sausage, eggs, sage, salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth and wine; toss to coat bread. Spoon stuffing into a buttered 13-by-9-inch pan; bake 30 minutes.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 449 calories, 44 percent of calories from fat, 22 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 102 milligrams cholesterol, 67 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams protein, 881 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.