Spicy Turkey Chili + Apple Cheddar Beer Bread / by Chelsea Zwieg

It's been chilly around here lately. FINALLY.  It's the kind of weather that makes you want to stay home at night, cooking, watching movies and drinking something warm. Which pretty much describes my life on the daily. When the temperature drops, the first thing I crave is big pot of chili. It's always been one of my favorite meals, my favorite thing that my mom cooks and the ultimate comfort food. 

So this weekend when it finally dropped into the 30s(!!!) at night, I made chili. Chili and beer bread. 

Beer bread is relatively new to me. I'm a huge beer wuss so the thought of making bread with it never appealed. But then I came across a recipe that made it sound sweet and doughy. I like sweet and doughy. So I gave it a try. It was ok. A little sweet and doughy for sure, but I used a very dark beer and that definitely lingered. So the second time I made it, I used hard cider, which I love, and mixed in some chopped apples and sharp cheddar. Unbelievable. It is appley, cheesy, doughy heaven with the perfect touch of sweetness to balance out the spice of the chili. 

And about that chili. I could eat chili for every meal. In fact, when I make it, I do eat it for every meal. I don't really have much choice, because I've never once been able to make chili in a quantity less than that which could feed an entire army. I think it's because I always have 30 things I want to add to it and rather than having a 1/4 can of black beans and 1/16 can of diced tomatoes sitting in my fridge, I just add it all to the pot. And really, I'm much happier when I open my fridge and find six containers of chili than when I open it and find a half empty can of black beans that has been skulking in a dark back corner behind the eggs and milk, only to reemerge three months later with a layer of mold to rival anything I've ever seen. 

This chili is spicy, full of veggies and beans and, best of all, completely adaptable. You can add any meat you have on hand or stop by the store and grab a rotisserie chicken on your way home, shred it and have this ready in 20 minutes. 

So if you need me, my chili and I will be at home, snuggled up under a blanket, re-reading Harry Potter and drinking all of the chai. Happy November! 

Apple Cheddar Beer Bread

Adapted from Half Baked Harvest 

Makes 1 loaf

| Ingredients |

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. hard cider or your favorite beer (I used Angry Orchard Crisp Apple)
  • 1/2 cup Fuji apple, diced
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar 

| Instructions |

  • Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt until combined. Add beer and stir to incorporate.
  • Add apple and cheddar. Stir well. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake 45-55 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Spicy Turkey Chili

Serves 8

| Ingredients |

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne 
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies 
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can hominy, drained
  • 2 cups shredded turkey (or chicken)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock 

| Instructions |

  • In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and sauté until onions are soft and beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add cayenne, paprika and chili powder and stir until veggies are coated. Sauté 2 more minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, black beans and hominy. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are heated and the chili begins to bubble.
  • Add the chicken stock and shredded turkey, stirring until heated and beginning to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer at least 10 minutes or until ready to serve.