Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gobble gobble


Canadian Thanksgiving came and went. This year for the first time ever, we were left to our own devices with no family obligations, which also means no one to do the cooking and washing up for you. We decided to do our own holiday feast instead, complete with roast turkey, the requisite trimmings (stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, etc.), and a few fellow holiday orphans as guests.

A note here: neither D. nor I are big fans of the big bird traditionally at the centre of Thanksgiving celebrations. They require so much work and are so easy to screw up. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a story or two about gathering around a platter of desiccated turkey on Thanksgiving or at Christmas. But tradition is tradition and we felt that, this year at least, we’d abide by it, just to see if we could pull it off. Next time, I’d rather do a roast.

All in all, our first crack at Thanksgiving was a success: the turkey was moist, albeit slightly flavourless-a fault of the bird or a lack of seasoning, it's hard to say-, the wine flowed freely and the pumpkin whip dessert was a big hit. Four guests and two hosts went off into the crisp October night with full bellies.

However, the next day presented a problem, one endemic to big festive meals but all the more pronounced in our situation: what to do with all these bloody leftovers? Our 12 pound turkey yielded roughly three pounds of leftover meat. Some of that ended up in a sandwich the very next day (turkey with brie, cranberries and caramelized onions if you must know). A bit more went into the chili below and the rest is going into the freezer for future chilies or curries. But the sides? I really haven’t a clue what to do with all that stuffing.

turkey chili

Post-Thanksgiving turkey chili
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium bell peppers (green, red or yellow) chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 whole chipotle chili, diced with 1/4 tsp adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 28 oz cans black beans, well drained
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 2 1/2 cups leftover roast turkey
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper. Saute until the onion is soft and golden, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the chili powder, cumin and cinnamon and cook for a minute. Add the black beans and tomatoes with their juices, stir in cocoa powder, sugar, chipotle and turkey and bring the whole thing to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding the corn about halfway through.
  4. Serve topped with grated cheddar, sour cream or (I tried this today and it was fantastic) maple syrup.

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