Spring may be right around the corner and the sun bright against a brilliant blue sky, but it is still 41 degrees on the front porch and much cooler in the shade or when a breeze wafts through the yard.
My spirit wants to garden, my flesh resists, and people of my age are being encouraged to stay home to avoid being exposed to a virus spreading across the globe.
A day like this calls for something warm and comforting to eat, not too demanding to cook, and made with whatever ingredients I have on hand. Perusing the pantry and digging through the deep freeze produced a pound of organic ground turkey, a jar of dried white beans, some salsa verde and a small can of green chilies. One onion and one shallot and some garlic will add a little zing, and we will have “White Bean with Turkey Chili.”
About a year ago, my daughter encouraged me to buy an Instant Pot. The latest “do everything” gadget that every kitchen supposedly needs. In the beginning, I wasn’t entirely convinced my kitchen needed one, but slowly, with practice and determination to use this appliance to my best advantage, it has become a valuable tool of many uses.
If you are not familiar with an Instant Pot, it is a slow cooker and pressure cooker all in one. It has a removable and deep metal pot that can be used to sear meats and sauté vegetables before cooking either by pressure or by using a slow-cooker setting.
The pot features preset times and temperatures for everything from soup to yogurt, and a manual setting that allows the user a full range of options. It can replace several other electrical appliances in the kitchen, such as a rice cooker, slow cooker, electric stock pot, fryer, etc.
Apparently, you can even bake breads and cakes in it, although I am a purist and choose to use an oven for those tasks. I find on a day like today, when the sun calls me into the garden, it’s nice to have a warming meal to enjoy when coming back indoors.
Today, chopped onion, shallot and three cloves of garlic went into the pot, which was drizzled with olive oil and set on medium heat for sauté. As the aromatics softened, I added the turkey that I crumbled into 1-inch chunks, and cooked until the pink color disappeared.
Next, dried beans, chicken broth, salsa verde and chilies were added, the lid locked down, the cooker set on 35 minutes on high pressure, and the pot was left to do its work.
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves good garlic, chopped fine
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 2 cups dry white beans
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 12-oz jar salsa verde
- 1 4-oz can chopped green chilies
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Saute onion in a tablespoon or two of olive oil until translucent. Add ground turkey and cook gently until no longer pink.
Add 2 cups washed dry beans, broth, salsa, chilies and cumin.
Lock down lid and use manual setting. Set for high pressure and 35 minutes cook time.
Allow to cool naturally for 30 minutes. Remove lid, taste and adjust seasonings (you may need to add salt).
* This is a master recipe. It can be altered any way you like. You can use white, brown or purple onions. Substitute beef or pork could for the turkey or leave out meat altogether. If you have pinto beans, garbanzos or black beans, use them instead of the white beans.
Vegetable broth or beef both works just as well as chicken broth does. If you prefer red chili instead of green, use tomato salsa. Pinto beans, ground beef and red salsa would produce a more traditional, Southwest chili.
You can add tomatoes as well as any seasonings you like. Keep the quantities in proportion.