““Winter tightened its grip on Alaska. The vastness of the landscape dwindled down to the confines of their cabin. The sun rose at quarter past ten in the morning and set only fifteen minutes after the end of the school day. Less than six hours of light a day. Snow fell endlessly, blanketed everything. It piled up in drifts and spun its lace across windowpanes, leaving them nothing to see except themselves. In the few daylight hours, the sky stretched gray overhead; some days there was merely the memory of light rather than any real glow. Wind scoured the landscape, cried out as if in pain. The fireweed froze, turned into intricate ice sculptures that stuck up from the snow.” Kristen Hannah, The Great Alone
The Great Alone was the book. The setting was Alaska. January was the month. Our hostess Allyson had made us a delicious pot of warming chili soup. Before we could start discussing Kristen Hannah’s latest book, moans of pleasure erupted around the table. “This is so good!” “What’s in it?” “How did you make this?” Allyson told us it was the Deer Valley Inn’s Turkey Chili recipe from the famous hotel in Utah and was kind enough to share the recipe with us. Her version had chicken instead of turkey. I made mine with cooked turkey from a breast I roasted the day before. I also used turkey stock made with the carcass of the same breast. This chili is more like a chunky soup and is totally different than any chili I’ve ever made. It has no tomatoes, similar to a white chili. It has more meat and broth than beans in it. The broth is thickened with puréed corn which gives it richness and a hint of sweetness. Totally awesome and so welcomed on a bone-chilling day with a howling wind rattling the windows. Dig in to both the chili and Hannah’s sensational tale set in Alaska.
Deer Valley Inn Turkey Chili
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 medium Anaheim chiles, seeded, chopped(If you can’t find Anaheim peppers, use poblanos, hatch or jalapenos chiles although the heat may vary. Our supermarket had them.)
2/3 cup chopped red onion
2/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
2/3 cup chopped celery
1 large leek (white part only), chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons oregano
1/4 cup flour (can use almond flour)
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5 cups chicken stock or canned broth
2 1/4 cups frozen corn, thawed
4 cups diced cooked turkey(or cooked chicken breast)
grated cheddar cheese
chopped red onion
chopped fresh cilantro
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add anaheim chilies, chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, leek, garlic and oregano. Cook until vegetables soften, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Add flour, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and sugar and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 4 1/2 cups stock and bring to simmer , stirring frequently.
Puree 1 1/4 cups corn with 1/2 cup stock in a food processor. Add puree to chili. Mix in black beans, turkey and remaining 1 cup corn. Simmer chili 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ladle chile into bowls. Serve, passing cheese, chopped onion, sour cream, and cilantro as toppings.The chili can be made a day or two ahead as the flavors only melt even more with some time. It can also be frozen. The recipe is easily doubled for a crowd.
I have made Deer Valley Inn granola for years. For the recipe, visit this post. The majestic beauty of Deer Valley Utah must truly inspire the cuisine!