Last week, inspired by David Chang, I decided to make a dish where protein was not the dominant theme. I wound up with a small portion of pork and a healthy dose of beans. The beans were made with jalapeno, tomato paste and sriracha. Delicious, but not quite perfect.
I set out to rectify that.
Cooking, I have a knack for. Recipe creation, not really. A solid base of information provided by my mother and the occasional class at The Brooklyn Kitchen have given me enough know-how to whip something up. But an actual original recipe, other than my infamous worked-over veggie burgers, I have not created.
What follows is the perfect recipe for a chili concoction that will rock your taste buds as much as it does your colon.
I realized that what I was missing in my last attempt was a fatty substance to add that lingering flavor you get out of true dishes. I also only used one jalapeno, forcing the addition of the sriracha.
This time I solved both issues. For depth of flavor, bacon is an obvious choice. Take five slabs, chop them and then render in a medium-sized saucepan. Once rendered, add three diced jalapenos. Cook until the bacon begins to crisp and your nose starts to burn.
Take about a pound of ground turkey and season with salt (lightly), black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Of course fresh garlic and onion is preferred. Dump the meat in the pan to brown.
After a half a minute, add two tablespoons of tomato paste. Stir.
Let the meat brown. Now taste. Depending on how spicy the meat is, add an appropriate amount of honey. Start with a three-second squirt out of your honey bear. Taste. Too spicy? Add more honey. Once you have the correct ratio of honey, take a tablespoon of white vinegar and add to the mix. This will help cut the richness of the chili.
Take a small can of pinto beans and strain as much liquid out as possible. Add to the pot. Let that all simmer for at least 15 minutes once the beans are added.
Get some extra-sharp cheddar, the amount is kind of up to you, shred and fold into the the beans and meat. Shred some extra for topping.
Let the pan simmer for a bit. There’s no science to how long it cooks at this point, it really just depends on how much time you have.
I like polenta – a lot. So I like to take half-inch slices and fry them up. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Don’t overcook! Just brown them on medium-low heat. You want a slight crunch without losing the creaminess in the middle.
Take your bean, meat, bacon and jalapeno mix and pour over the sliced polenta. Take the extra shredded cheese and put it on top as soon as you as you can so it melts nicely.
There you go. You will flip out at the depth of flavor here and, more importantly, that you only have a single pot to clean.