From the Kitchen Garden: Michael Weishan’s Famous Victory Garden Chili

A number of years back, I was asked to bring something for one of our end-season crew parties, so I decided to make a chili recipe that I had inherited from my mother, though with a few twists. For years, mom made us what she called “thin chili”, which received this moniker because  the dish wasn’t made from a heavy red tomato sauce like most other chilis, but rather from the juice of canned tomatoes. The effect, much lighter than many southwestern versions of chili con carne, is very pleasing, and tastes less like ketchup. Over the years however, I’ve altered this basic recipe, changing the meat from beef to turkey, then to turkey with a bit of pork, and finally adding a variety of vegetables to the mix. There are a few essentials to this chili: the meat blend is key, as the pork adds critical flavor; the homemade stock is equally important, as are the leeks, which lend a distinct flavor and texture to the sauce. Also the tomatoes: you easily can taste the difference between homegrown and store-bought, and the Clamato, rather than just regular tomato juice, adds a pleasant zing.  In short, don’t divert, if you wish the desired result: a fantastic, low-cost, highly nutritious meal.

Victory Garden Chili

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 pound ground pork
1 onion chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 leek chopped
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed, and reconstituted in 1/4 warm water, then chopped
2/3 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup hardy homemade chicken stock (or one cube of frozen demiglace)
1 can black beans
1 can red beans
1 bottle homemade canned tomatoes, or one 16 ounce can of store-bought
1/2 bottle Clamato tomato juice
1 tablespoon paprika
1-2 tablespoon chili power
1 dash hot red pepper sauce (to taste)

Brown the meat and pork, separating into small chunks. Add the vegetables to the meat and cook over medium until soft; drain the beans, rinse and add. Add the tomatoes with juice, breaking up with a fork if required; then the rest of the ingredients, and let simmer over a low heat, covered, for 2-3 hours. (This is a perfect dish for a slow cooker, by the way, just be sure to brown the meat first.) Serve with noodles, rice or crackers. Makes 4 Servings (Double or triple for larger groups.)

Until next time, I’m Michael Weishan, for Old House, Old Garden.


From the Kitchen Garden: Michael Weishan’s Famous Victory Garden Chili — 5 Comments

  1. Just from reading the recipe made me hungry. I will definitely try to make this in the future….perhaps for the upcoming Chinese New Year dinner.

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