Five weeknight dishes: Chili season! – The Denver Post

Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes.

Everything feels a bit wonky in my world, but one bright note: It’s fall, and I’m thrilled about it. Apple cider, falling leaves, Fair Isle sweaters. And when the weather turns cooler, I want to make chili. I’ll repurpose the chili in tacos and on top of baked potatoes or hot dogs later in the week. If chili is not your thing, there are four more dishes to choose from that I hope will get you into the kitchen and cooking.

Here are five dishes for the week:

1. Turkey Chili

There are so many great chilis on NYT Cooking, but this one is a big reader favorite. It’s fast, delicious and can be made with pretty much any ground meat.

By: Pierre Franey

Yield: 6 servings or more

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, white and dark combined
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, cored, deveined and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cored, deveined and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 tablespoon, dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth, fresh or canned
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 15-ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (optional)
  • Sliced lime for garnish (optional)

Preparation

1. Heat the oil over high heat in a large heavy pot and add the turkey meat. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, chopping down and stirring with the side of a heavy kitchen spoon to break up any lumps.

2. Add the onions, garlic, sweet pepper, celery, jalapeño pepper, oregano, bay leaves, chili powder and cumin. Stir to blend well. Cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

4. Add the drained beans and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes longer. Serve in bowls with cheddar cheese, and sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.

2. Sheet-Pan Miso Chicken With Radishes and Lime

I absolutely love this one-pan dinner. Radishes might seem like an unusual choice, but when hit with high heat, they soften and sweeten, making them the perfect counterpoint to salty, miso-glazed chicken. If my crew is particularly hungry, I add cubed potatoes to cook with the radishes.

By: Yasmin Fahr

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white miso paste
  • 1 pound trimmed radishes, halved, if large
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 2 scallions, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
  • Black or white sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place one rack in the middle of the oven and another about 6 inches from the broiler.

2. On a large baking sheet, drizzle the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon oil, then season all over with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, mash together the ghee and miso until combined. Lift up the skin on one chicken thigh, carefully creating a space between the skin and meat, and place about 1/2 teaspoon miso-ghee mixture inside. Close the pocket, then lightly press on top of the skin to spread it around. Repeat with remaining chicken thighs, adding 1/2 teaspoon miso-ghee mixture to each. Massage another 1 1/2 teaspoons mixture all over the chicken, leaving about 1 teaspoon miso-ghee mixture remaining in the bowl.

3. Arrange the chicken skin-side up, evenly spaced apart, and roast on the middle rack for 15 minutes.

4. In the same mixing bowl, toss the radishes with the remaining miso-ghee mixture and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper.

5. After the chicken has roasted for 15 minutes, scatter the radishes around the chicken and cook until radishes are tender and lightly browned and chicken is cooked through (the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh should reach 165 degrees), another 10 to 15 minutes.

6. If the chicken skin is not as browned as you’d like, broil on the rack near the broiler until the skin is crispy and golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

7. Squeeze the lime juice over chicken and radishes, then garnish with the scallions and sesame seeds, if using. Divide among plates and serve.

3. One-Pan Tuna White Bean Casserole

I was raised in the Midwest and in the South, so I am predisposed to love a casserole. This lovely one is based on a Breton tuna and white bean gratin, and it is topped with potato chips, my love language. I’ll serve it with a crisp green salad and crusty bread.

By: Melissa Clark

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, 2 shallots, 4 scallions or 2 leeks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch of red-pepper flakes
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 rosemary sprig (optional)
  • 2 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup white wine, or use water or broth
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 (5-ounce) cans of tuna
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, tarragon, chives or a combination
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons grated cheese (any kind, though Gruyère, Cheddar, Parmesan or Jarlsberg would be great)
  • 1/2 cup potato chips, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • Lemon juice, for serving

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an ovenproof skillet, sauté a chopped onion (or shallots, scallions or leeks) in olive oil over medium-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Add red-pepper flakes, salt and garlic cloves. Throw in the rosemary sprig, if using. Add anchovy fillets, if using. Cook for another 2 minutes, until the garlic is slightly golden and very fragrant.

3. Add the white beans and the wine. Let it simmer until the liquid evaporates and the beans are soft, about 5 minutes, then mash the beans with a potato masher or a fork. Make them as smooth or lumpy as you like. You just want to release some of their starch. Turn off the heat.

4. Now, add the milk and the tuna. If you have the oil-packed kind, add the oil. If you have the water-packed kind, drain them, and drizzle in more olive oil.

5. Mash the tuna into the beans, leaving it a little chunky. Mix in the herbs, lemon zest and add lots of black pepper. Finally, mix in 2 to 4 tablespoons of any kind of grated cheese. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

6. Spread the mixture evenly in the skillet, and top it with potato chips. Scatter on more grated cheese, about another 2 tablespoons, and dot the top with little nuggets of butter.

7. Bake until the tuna mixture bubbles around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. If you want the potato chips to get more brown, you could run the whole pan under the broiler. Finish with lemon juice.

4. Spiced Chickpea Salad With Tahini and Pita Chips

One of my favorite lazy meals is to make a pot of rice, sauté some greens, pop open a can of chickpeas, throw it all into a bowl, then top it with sliced avocado and whatever leftovers I can find in the fridge. This vibrant warm salad takes it to the next level with roasted spiced chickpeas, pita chips and a lemony tahini dressing.

By: Hetty McKinnon

Yield: 4 main-course servings

Total time: About 1 hour

Ingredients

For the chickpeas:

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, well drained, or 4 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3/4 to 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, or 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper

For the tahini sauce:

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Warm water, as needed

To finish:

  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • About 10 ounces kale, chard or spinach, well washed and thick stems removed
  • 3 cups store-bought or homemade pita chips (see Tip)
  • Handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Handful of roughly chopped mint
  • 1 large or 2 small cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Lemon, cut into wedges

Preparation

1. Make the chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour the chickpeas into a small baking dish, about 6 inches by 8 inches. The chickpeas should be crowded together in a thick layer, not spread out. Pour in olive oil just until chickpeas are covered. (This will look like a lot, but don’t worry: It forms part of the dressing.)

2. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, and 2 big pinches each of salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Bake until oil is bubbling around the chickpeas and they are turning reddish-brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, make tahini sauce: Pour tahini into a bowl and whisk in lemon juice and garlic. The tahini will thicken and clump. Slowly whisk in warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce becomes smooth, creamy and pourable. Taste and season with salt, pepper and more lemon juice, if desired. Set aside.

4. Cook the greens: Place a large frying pan over medium heat and drizzle lightly with olive oil. When hot, add the greens in batches, along with a big pinch of salt. Stir until wilted and tender and set aside.

5. When ready to serve, in a large bowl, gently mix chickpeas and their cooking oil with the cooked greens, half the pita chips, and the chopped herbs. Mound chickpea mixture in 4 shallow bowls. Divide cucumber slices around chickpeas. Drizzle thickly with half the tahini sauce and scatter remaining pita chips on top. Place a lemon wedge on the side and serve, passing extra tahini sauce at the table.

TIP: It’s easy to make pita chips from stale pita bread. Cut each round into triangles like a pie and separate the top and bottom layers. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it ripples, add the pita triangles and cook, stirring often, until golden brown. Reduce the heat as needed to prevent scorching.

5. Colcannon With Crispy Leeks

Forget apples, comfort me with potatoes. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes and greens, but this one is Melissa Clark-ified with the addition of crispy leeks. She recommends topping with some smoked salmon or a fried egg to make it a complete meal, but I think I’ll roast a few chicken sausages for a bangers and mash kind of thing.

By: Melissa Clark

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds any kind of potatoes, peeled if you like, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter, plus more as needed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced leeks or alliums of choice (shallots, onions, scallions)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 quarts of sliced sturdy greens (cabbage or kale, broccoli raab, chard, collard greens or mustard greens)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk or vegetable broth (optional)
  • Fried egg, smoked salmon, or a simple green salad (optional)

Preparation

1. In a medium pot, combine the potatoes with enough water to cover them by 2 inches and a large pinch of salt. Boil until tender enough to easily pierce with a fork, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter, along with a drizzle of oil, then add leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté over medium heat for 5 or so minutes. When the leeks are golden, spoon some out onto a plate to use for garnish.

3. To the leeks in the pan, add the garlic cloves, and cook them for a minute until fragrant. Then, toss in the greens. Season with more salt and cook, tossing them, until the greens are wilted and very tender. If the pan looks dry, add a splash of water.

4. Now add the potatoes to the skillet and mash them (so they’re either smooth or chunky), and add some milk or vegetable broth, if you like, and a lot of butter. Taste, and add more salt and lots of pepper. Scatter on the fried leeks and more butter to melt in little pools across the top.

5. Top with a fried egg or some smoked salmon, or serve a simple green salad on the side.

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