I’ve gone on about my love of chili before, but I’m going to do it again. I’m sure this won’t be the last time, either, just so you know. But I can’t help it. What I love most about chili is its versatility. Not only are there a million ways to make chili, but there are just as many ways to serve it. I’ve had it over rice and mixed in with rice. I’ve had it over burgers and over hot dogs, stuffed in poblanos and in burritos, and mixed with cheese for a fantastic dip. All these possibilities, and I haven’t even gotten to corn yet. Chili and corn have a natural affinity for each other. No really, I mean it. Chili and corn bread? Come on. Chili tamale pie? Yes, please. And now, my newest chili experience, chili and polenta bowls.
This is another terrific idea from Rachael Ray. Just pile some polenta into a bowl, make a well in the center, ladle in some chili, and there you have it. Chili and polenta bowls. They’re fabulous. I don’t know how many other people are eating chili right now—I mean, it’s more of a winter dish, right?—but I could never go three months without it. And there are plenty of ways to make it more fitting with the season. I added frozen corn to mine, but fresh corn scraped off the cob would be even better. You could add some grilled veggies or, instead of mixing canned tomatoes into the chili, top the dish off with some fresh salsa. Or, my favorite idea, top it with some fresh chopped avocado and a squeeze of lime. Served with some margaritas, that’s a perfect meal any time of year.
Chili and Polenta Bowls
Adapted from Chunky Chicken and Chorizo Chili
This makes a very thick chili. If you like yours a bit thinner, you can add some extra liquid in the form of beer, chicken stock, or crushed tomatoes. Just add the desired amount at the same time that you add your tomatoes.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 links fresh chorizo
1 pound ground turkey
1.5 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
Salt and pepper
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup quick cooking polenta
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Garnishes: chopped scallions, shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped avocado
Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Add chorizo, break it up a bit with a wooden spoon, and allow to cook until meat begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Push the chorizo off to the sides of the pot and add turkey. Brown and crumble the turkey for 5 to 6 minutes. Season with chili powder and cumin. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeno and cook another 5 to 6 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Add the beans, corn, and tomatoes with their liquid and heat through. Season the chili with salt and pepper, to taste, and allow to simmer, covered, while preparing polenta.
Bring stock to a boil in a medium pot. Stir in polenta, and keep stirring until the polenta masses and thickens to a porridge, about 2 minutes. Stir in butter and thyme and season with salt, to taste.
Fill bowls half-way with polenta. Spread polenta up sides of bowls, making a well in the center of each bowl. Fill up bowls with chili, top with desired garnishes, and serve.