Pretending to Cook

Turkey & Black Bean Chili

I haven’t had much time to cook lately, what with visitors in town, busy weeks at work and more. I also haven’t been feeling terribly motivated to try any new recipe – no craving for anything in particular, no dish I wanted to have a go at.

So this week when the thought crossed my mind to give chili a try (spurred on by a disappointing experience with a bowl of deli chili for lunch recently), I decided I should follow my taste buds and see what I could concoct in my tragically underused slow cooker.

I dug around for a few recipes that seemed like the kind of chili I was looking for: turkey not beef, emphasis on veggies over beans. Wouldn’t you know, there’s a recipe for that!

Because it’s me and because I’m really good at doing things wrong when it comes to cooking, I definitely messed up on the way to my first homemade chili. But it wouldn’t be an adventure worth blogging about if I hadn’t, right?

For one, I couldn’t find a can of black beans in the store to save my life. The place is already such a madhouse on Saturday afternoons, I didn’t have the patience to hunt them down. So I grabbed the first bag of dry black beans I found, thinking I’d figure out how to make it work. This, of course, posed two problems a more…seasoned…chef than myself would’ve seen coming: one, the beans wouldn’t soften nearly as easily as canned ones; and two, 15oz of canned black beans is very different from 15oz of dry black beans.

photo (5)And yet, the chili turned out not just OK, but quite enjoyable! Instead of picking up a packet of chili seasoning (because that’s apparently a shortcut you can take in making chili), I filled out my growing spice collection and made my own. I diced peppers and a big onion, stirred in corn and plenty of tomatoes, and 8 hours later I had a pot full of homemade chili and an apartment that smelled as amazing as the chili tasted.

As usual, the batch will last me through the week, and I even gave some away to a friend today. By Thursday, I’m sure I’ll have had my fill of chili for the season. But in the meantime, it’s great to have another recipe to add to my repetoire, and I already know how I’ll improve on the recipe for next time.