GINNA PARSONS: Hot sauce, blue cheese give chili zing

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Week before last, when that first little nip in the air stayed for more than a day, I dug through the kitchen cabinets and pulled out my trusty chili pot. It was sort of my signal to the family that the cool salad days of summer were over, and soup season had arrived.
I’m not ashamed to say that my chili begins with a packet of French’s Chili-O mix. To that, I add a pound of lean ground turkey, a half-cup of chopped onions, a can of drained dark red kidney beans, a can of drained black beans, a can of tomato sauce, a can of diced tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of chili powder.
This makes enough for eight servings, so my family of four enjoys it one night, and then we have leftovers for whomever wants them over the next couple of days.
I like other chilis, too. I enjoy ones made with beef, pork or corn. One of my favorites is white chili, made with ground turkey, cannellini beans and diced green chilies.
When I came across this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Chili, I was intrigued. I love the spiciness of buffalo chicken and the creaminess of blue cheese, and this combines both.
I have not made this chili yet, since we just had chili a week or so ago, but this is what I’ll be making before the month is out. And FYI, I googled “buffalo chicken chili recipe” and saw a couple of other recipes for this type of chili. Some people who had rated those recipes suggested substituting a pound of cooked, chopped chicken breast meat for the ground chicken, but I’m going to try it with the ground chicken first.

Buffalo Chicken Chili
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 to 2 tablespoons ground cumin
11⁄2 teaspoons salt
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1⁄4 cup buffalo-style hot sauce
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Crumbled blue cheese
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add celery, onion, green pepper and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Add ground chicken and cook until well browned on all sides, stirring constantly. Stir in chili powder, cumin and salt; cook 1 minute.
Add tomatoes with their liquid, tomato sauce and hot sauce. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans; cook 5 minutes longer. To serve, top each serving with some crumbled blue cheese.
Makes 6 servings.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.