Not to sound like a total lush, but I really really missed margaritas when I was pregnant. And it's not like I drank them all the time before, but knowing that I couldn't have one made me want one that much more. Forbidden fruit and all, I guess. I finally got to enjoy one when Smith was a few weeks old, and it was deeelicious.
This chili is a basic turkey chili, but with the added flavors of tequila and lime - kind of a "margarita chili" if you will. But way less weird than it may sound. The tequila is definitely subtle, but it adds a great depth of flavor. And the addition of lime juice and zest adds a nice bright freshness.
This is a pretty standard crock pot chili recipe, but in true America's Test Kitchen style, it does have a few unorthodox ingredients and steps. The ground turkey is mixed with a paste that's made with milk and bread, called a panade, before it is browned. This helps keep the meat tender throughout the long cooking time. In order to boost the meaty flavor, soy sauce is added. Honey helps to bring out a little sweetness from the tequila. And the tequila is added in two places: at the onset of cooking, to infuse the chili with a great base of flavor, and then again just before serving to give it a nice finish. Feel free to add a "floater" to your individual portion if the mood strikes. ;-)
We really liked this chili - it had just enough spice to keep it interesting, with just a touch of sweetness. The leftovers just got better as the week went on, and I enjoyed it for lunch every day. Any time I can get away with tequila at noon is a good day by me!
Tequila-Lime Turkey Chili
adapted from America's Test Kitchen, Slow Cooker Revolution
- 1 slice sandwich bread, torn into pieces
- 2 Tbs milk (lowfat is fine)
- 1 lb ground turkey
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds remove, minced
- 2 Tbs chili powder
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp minced fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried
- 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 14.5-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup tequila, plus more as needed
- 2 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs honey
- 1 tsp minced chipotle en adobo
- 1 tsp grated lime zest
- 1 Tbs fresh lime juice, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- fresh cilantro
- Pepperjack cheese
- diced avocado
- tortilla chips
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno, and cook until they are softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the chili powder, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
Stir in the turkey and cook, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
To the slow cooker, add the diced tomatoes with their juices, beans, 3 tablespoons of the tequila, soy sauce, honey, and chipotles. Cover and cook on low until the turkey is tender, 4 to 6 hours.
Turn off the slow cooker and allow the chili to settle about 5 minutes. Use a large spoon to skim the fat off the surface. Break up any remaining large pieces of turkey with a spoon. Stir in the remaining tequila, lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, tequila, and lime juice as desired.