This frigid January has been a great time to celebrate National Soup Month, even here in usually-sunny Georgia! I was invited to a Chili Cook-Off last weekend and decided to put together something I usually make for one of my history classes when we’re studying the discovery of the New World – Tomatillo Green Chili. I’m not a fan of hot and spicy foods, so this is a mild chili. If you like your hot peppers, feel free to add them!
Toasting and grinding the cumin fresh adds a wonderful depth of smoky flavor, not to mention the mouth-watering smell! Use a small, dry frying pan and put the cumin seeds in it over high heat for a minute or two, tossing them gently just until you start to hear them pop and the smell becomes very strong. Grind them right away and use it fresh. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, a spice grinder will work just as well, although I like the hand ground product better.
Tomatillo Green Chili (mild)
2 lb. tomatillos
2 large green tomatoes, diced
1 banana pepper seeded and chopped
1 large white onion, medium diced
4 tsp. oregano
2 tbsp. granulated garlic
4 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground fresh
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 tsp. cayenne (optional)
8 c. water
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 lb. ground turkey or ground pork, crumbled and cooked (this can be omitted for a vegetarian version)
1 cup. sm. white beans
¼ cup fine corn flour (optional)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Cook the beans according to the package. When they are cooked, rinse them well in a colander. (You can use canned white or pinto beans here if you want to save some time!)
Brown the meat in a deep frying pan or stew pot. Remove the meat from the pan and reserve. Take the papery brown cover off of the tomatillos and wash them. They are sticky under the brown coating until they are washed. Chunk up the washed, peeled tomatillos and put them in the stew pot with the onion, pepper, granulated garlic, black pepper, and half of the toasted cumin. Cover with water and cook until the tomatillos break down and thicken the sauce. It should look thick and soupy.
Add salt and pepper to taste and add the beans, meat, diced fresh garlic and diced green tomatoes. Cook until the tomato chunks just start to soften. Add corn flour to thicken if desired.
Just before serving, add chopped green onions and cilantro. Garnish with sour cream, shredded queso or jack, sprinkle with more toasted cumin, or use the cilantro/green onion mixture as a sprinkling on top. I made some gluten free corn pones to go with this, but I also like to serve this with red salad and blue corn chips just to be interesting. Since I like my chili mild, I usually serve it with a selection of hot sauces so that others can customize their bowls exactly to their desired level of spiciness.
I’m not a fan of the taste of cooked green peppers, but they could certainly be added to the mix if you like them.
Celebrate National Soup Month and create your own warm and hearty comfort foods! What is your favorite soup, stew, chili, goulash, etc?