|Second attempt at a happily candid photo. Let me show you the first attempt, below.|
Last week rang in one of the best months of the year: October. Pumpkins, gourds, hayrides, autumn leaves, cider doughnuts, pumpkin pie...
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie
She made a special pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pieeeeee...
You've neeever tasted such a pumpkin pie!
(Now picture lots of kids dressed in prairie outfits, my mother holding a wooden bowl and spoon, and my father playing his guitar, and you've got my childhood.)
|That's my father, the guitar player........|
On the bright side, there is always room for new traditions (look Ma, I'm growing!) and with my life being what it is now, with new friends and new experiences, it seemed only fitting that we create a new way to ring in the season. Enter OctoberFeast!
The idea started with a trip to the farmers market and the serendipitous discovering of sweet potatoes that were the size of my head. I kid you not. From there came a recipe idea for a fall-themed chili, which I had been brooding over since the weather turned chilly (ha-ha-ha, get it?). And since I have the best people in my life, they hopped right on board, contributing this jalepeno cheddar cornbread and an apple crisp for which I'd trade my soul to get the recipe (hear that, Elly?)
My crowning moment, personally, was this recipe. It started with me throwing a bunch of random things in a pot (as most of my recipes start), but unlike the majority of experiments, this one actually turned out delicious!
Serve it piping hot with a piece of cornbread in the middle to soak it up like a sponge, or with crumbled crackers for a hearty fall lunch!
Apple crisp is optional. Wine is not.
Autumn Turkey Chili
Serves a whole lotta folk!
Two stalks celery, chopped
Two small or one mammoth carrot, chopped
One large white onion, chopped
Two medium or one mammoth (the size of your head) sweet potato, chopped into bite size pieces
Three cans white beans in bean liquid
Two cups chicken stock
Three bay leaves
One cinnamon stick
Several good shakes of sweet smoked paprika
A few good shakes of round cumin
A few handfuls of dried parsley
Salt and pepper
Place your largest stockpot over medium-high heat; add the turkey, break it up with a wooden utensil, then let it sit until it begins to caramelize. Add salt, pepper, and the cumin and caraway seeds (a few sprinkles of each).
When it looks like this, add the onion, celery, and carrot, and cook for a few minutes until the carrots are slightly tender but still crispy. Add the sweet potato, season with salt, pepper, paprika, and ground cumin, and cook for five minutes more.
Add two cans of beans, with liquid. Add four cans worth of water plus two of chicken stock, then bring the whole thing to a boil and reduce to simmer. Puree the third can of beans, with liquid, in a blender until smooth. Add to the simmering pot, along with the bay leaves and cinnamon, bring to a boil and boil, uncovered, for five minutes.
Reduce to simmer, cover, and let cook for twenty to thirty minutes, or until the liquid has thickened and the sweet potatoes are soft. Sprinkle in the dried parsley. Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve.