Huffington, Stewart, Obama, Chili

Last Monday on my Virgin America flight JFK->SFO I watched Arianna Huffington embarrass the entire blogosphere on John Stewart:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Friday night rolled around and I’d invited some people over for drinks. Never one to open the door without something scrumptious to offer, and knowing I. and I needed dinner ourselves, I set about the habitual and lengthy debate about what to cook. I was desperate for some cassoulet, but it was absolutely out of the question. Duck confit and a 3 to 48 hour cooking process was just not going down that night.

So I thought soup, bean soup? Chili? Lentil? Rimpletide tried to get me to make Turkey Chipotle Chili, which I was totally into until I got to Market Hall and realized I needed 2 lbs (!) of tomatillos. Do you understand how many tomatillos that is? All of a sudden I started reading the recipe more carefully–what kind of chili was this? GREEN? No, I was feeling like a red-blooded American on Friday and wasn’t about to get down with some soupy-green-tomatillo based fusion fare. Disaster! The guests would arrive in less than 2 hours!

Standing at the Produce Market at Market Hall I started to panic and wildly Googled chili recipes from my iPhone. My search terms were “chili recipe.” I didn’t trust what I saw on page one of the results, so I went to page two. There, at the top of the second page of search results was Obama’s Chili Recipe, courtesy of none other than the Huffington Post. The rich bitch saved the day after all!

I went for ground Turkey instead of beef for reasons of health and got a deal at Enzo’s because the guy recognized me from my days at Bloomies. I didn’t need many ingredients, so I grabbed two bottles at Paul Marcus (a brilliant $14 Barbera among them from the Bargain Red section), grabbed two sweet Acme baguettes, a wedge of D’Affinois (available by mail from Murray’s if your and outside of the Bay reader), and a creme-based French goat from Pasta Shop and I was on my way home.

I made Obama’s recipe but had to make a few adjustments. If I’d stuck to the recipe I think the chili would have been quite dry, with hardly any broth element. My results were still thick and viscous but I added 3/4 cup dry red wine and 1 cup chicken stock.  To slightly modify Obama’s selection of flavors I doubled the basil and oregano, added 3 bay leaves, and used 2 tablespoons minced Anaheim chile (long and thin, can be found in green or red).

The results were a hit. I would say that the wine and additional basil and oregano gave it a slightly more Euro twist, while the Anaheim chile gave it an unexpected kick.

It was quick and easy for a hearty crowd-pleasing dinner after a long week. Highly recommended.

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