Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Turkey Chili & my slow cooker infomercial

It's cold.  Winter is upon us.  I get out of work and if the sun isn't shining, likely as not, neither am I.  But today, the world vertices have aligned.  Today is the first day since before Christmas that the blustery city of Chicago has seen temperatures above 32.  Today is the first day in I can't remember how long that I can see full, blue sky between skyscrapers.

And today is the first day that I came home to delicious dinner, already prepared by my alter ego.  7 pm last night, "Tuesday night Joanna" sauteed onions and meat.  She opened up can after can of tomatoes, spooned out heaping teaspoons of spices, dug old ice cubes of cilantro made over the summer out of her frosty fridge.  She begged her roommate for the privilege to use Grandma's frozen corn: grown, shucked and frozen by the Captain's very own grandparents in Hamilton, MO.  And then, that Joanna went to bed.

I woke up this morning, pulled my crock pot, already full of uncooked chili out of the fridge, clumsily slammed it into the slow cooker and set it on low- 10 hours.  (Grumbling, I thought to myself, 'I wish I had that kind of setting.  I'd like to be on low for 10 hours.' Sigh.)  Instead I strutted out of my apartment, down the stairs to my bus stop, lightly hopped on the bus and beamed at my alter-ego productivity.  All day, I bragged to coworkers.  I sung the glories of my productive slow cooker.  One colleague immediately called his wife and said, "hey how come we don't have a slow cooker?" "We do!!!"  she retorted.  "YOU!!"

With an extra spring in my step I walked up my stairs and put the key in the door...ahhhh, I can smell it from the hallway even.  Was some dark-haired, argyle-sporting man cooking something deliciously steamy in my kitchen for a mid-week surprise?!  No no no, it's the slow cooker!  (I realize this might be slightly anti-climatic but honestly, I'm seeing him later tonight and daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn look at that chili).

 The brilliant machine has simmered on low 10 hours and now has cleverly switched itself to warm mode. It's beautiful. It's cozy.  It's healthy. 

Whoever you are.  Put down the computer right now.  Stop reading and check your cabinet if somewhere in the depths of your pantry you have a slow cooker.  If you don't, BUY ONE NOW.  You know I'm going to just keep taunting you for the rest of January, and probably February considering the success thus far.

Turkey, Corn, White Bean Chili

1.25 lbs turkey, defrosted
1 large white onion
3 t dried oregano
2 t cumin
1 1/2 t hot chili powder
3 t cornmeal
6 cilantro ice cubes or 1/2 cup finely chopped
1 can cannelli (white kidney) beans --or 2 if you really like beans
1 medium bag of frozen corn (I think I had around 2 cups, but I love love love corn)
1- 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 28-32 oz tomato sauce (though I used only 12 oz can tomato sauce & leftover sauce from the Southwestern Beef Rolls)

In a medium saute pan, heat 2 T olive oil.  Add onions and spicing (excluding cornmeal) and saute until onions are well browned.  Pour into crock pot insert.  Brown turkey in saucepan, using more oil if needed.  Add to crock pot insert.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Cook on low for 10 hours and it will patiently wait for you.

If you like, feel free to prep the night before, refrigerate all the ingredients in your fridge and pop into the slow cooker the next morning. 

And yes, it's not even 5:30 and I've already finished my bowl.  And I'll probably have another at 8 tonight.  And 11 AM tomorrow...


  1. what a great idea!! I can't wait to try the chile... some white onions and cheese, and I'm in business.

  2. I forgot! Serve with Bon Appetit's Buttermilk cornbread:

    Melt 1 stick of butter in a medium saucepan. When melted, whisk in 1 1/2 c buttermilk and 2 eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 c flour, 2 c cornmeal, 4 t baking powder, 1 t salt, 1/4 t pepper.

    Combine the liquids to the flour mix. Pour into a greased 9x13 and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

    It's WAY better than Jiffy baby.

  3. oop-- ADD 1/2 c sugar to flour mix...

  4. wow, Joanna, this is inspiring me to dig out my slow cooker! My sister in law bought it for us a year or two ago; I scoffed at first but she also wisely gave us a cookbook for it. As a vegetarian, I quickly discovered its utility for cooking beans...I'd rather cook dried beans than buy canned ones, but I am a perpetual bean-burner, so to have something simmer away all day at just the right temp is a dream come true.

    One warning, though: one day I left the cooker on while I went out and when I came home the glass top of the cooker had shattered all over the kitchen. I am apparently not the first person to have had this problem. The company sent me a new lid, but I've stayed slightly paranoid about it and tend not to leave it on anymore when I'm not at

  5. Sarah: I'm so glad to have inspired you to dig your own SC out of its hiding place! That's the whole idea!

    Will keep your warning in mind-- how terrible!! How long had you left it for?