In Murder at the Book Group Hazel Rose needs to take a bereavement casserole to Evan, the victim’s husband (who happens to be Hazel’s first husband). Problem is, Hazel doesn’t “do” casseroles—but she can turn out a mean chili. In fact, it was the only dish she could cook without burning during her brief and long ago marriage to Evan.
The original recipe comes from the Gourmet Gazelle Cookbook by Ellen Brown. It calls for ground turkey, but I sometimes use ground sirloin or bison. And I adapted the recipe for the slow cooker. It never disappoints.
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
1 ½ pounds turkey breast, coarsely ground
2 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. powdered cocoa
1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ cup tarragon vinegar
2 tbsp. strong brewed coffee
2 14 oz. cans plum tomatoes, crushed
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups cooked black beans
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or deep skillet. Add onion, garlic, and both bell peppers; sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring constantly and breaking up any lumps with the spoon.
Stir in the flour, chili powder, cumin, and cocoa. Stir frequently over low heat for 3 minutes to cook the spices. Add remaining ingredients except black beans and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer chili, stirring occasionally, for 40-45 minutes until thick and the turkey is tender. Add black beans and cook for 5 additional minutes.
Pair it with corn bread. For added spice, toss in some chopped jalapeno peppers. Enjoy!
But is chili an appropriate bereavement dish? What is appropriate?