I started with the base of an average turkey chili — some onions, jalapenos, garlic, ground turkey and white beans. Nothing unexpected there. But all those basics get a serious flavour boost from an unexpected ingredient — sweet white miso. It's the same stuff used in the soup you slurp at the sushi bar.
Miso is an underappreciated ingredient. It effortlessly amps the savory-salty flavour of anything it touches, particularly in wet rubs and other sauces for meat. In this recipe, it replicates in just minutes a depth of flavour you'd normally need a long simmer to attain. And don't be put off by the "sweet" in the name. Sweet white miso isn't really sweet, just milder than darker miso.
The chili is finished with corn kernels cut from the cob and just barely heated, preserving their fresh flavour and texture. And to tie everything together, the chili is finished with cilantro and lime juice.
TURKEY AND CORN CHILI WITH SWEET WHITE MISO
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 to 2 jalapeno chilies, finely chopped (for less heat, discard the inner ribs and seeds)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 pounds (40 ounces) lean ground turkey
15-ounce can white kidney or navy beans, drained
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup sweet white miso
6 ears corn, husks and silk removed (or 3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed)
Salt and ground black pepper
2 limes, cut into wedges, to serve
Chopped fresh cilantro, to serve
In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion, chilies, garlic and cumin, then saute until the onion is just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the turkey and saute, breaking up any large clumps, until browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the kidney beans, chicken broth and miso. Bring to a simmer, stirring often to dissolve the miso, then cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, one at a time stand each ear of corn on its wide end. Use a serrated knife to saw down the length of the cob to remove the corn kernels. Add the corn to the chili, then return to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro.
Nutrition information per serving: 370 calories; 120 calories from fat (32 per cent of total calories); 14 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 80 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 36 g protein; 610 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org