The other day as I was riding the subway home from work, I heard something really fascinating that I don’t think I had ever heard before — two women, who were both clearly fluent in both English and Spanish, having a conversation and seamlessly slipping from one language to the other, usually within the same sentence. I’m sure other people hear this kind of thing all the time, but as someone who spent many years struggling and never quite mastering a foreign language (French, how useful…), I was so impressed with these women.
It also made me wonder — did they even realize when they slipped from language to the other? And what caused them to make each transition? My original theory was that they slipped back to whichever language was their native language when trying to express something more complex or nuanced, but then what made them go back to the other one?
Sigh. The moral of the story is I’m just jealous I’m not bilingual. But this dinner — a hearty, crockpot stew that’s full of lime, chili powder, tequila and lots of Tex-Mex flavor — kindof is, right?
SLOW COOKER TEQUILA LIME CHILI (slightly adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
1 slice sandwich bread, torn into pieces
2 tbsp milk
1 lb ground turkey
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 white onion, minced
2 tbsp chili powder (or more to taste)
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1 and 1/2 cups frozen corn kernals
1/4 cup tequila (plus more for serving, if desired)
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce (I used a full tbsp)
zest and juice of one lime (plus more juice for serving, if desired)
1. In large bowl, use fork to mash bread and milk into a paste. Add ground turkey, lightly salt and pepper, and mix to combine.
2. Add oil to large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onions, chili power, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook 8-10 minutes, until onion has softened. Add ground turkey mixture and cook until no longer pink, using wooden spoon to break up large pieces. Mix in tomato sauce, using the spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
3. Transfer contents of pan to the cooker. Add the diced tomatoes (including juice), corn, 3 tbsp of the tequila, soy sauce, honey, and chipotle chile, stirring to combine. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
4. When ready to serve, stir in remaining tablespoon of tequila and the lime zest and juice. Season to taste, adding additional tequila or lime juice if desired.
This smelled great cooking and had a great flavor — spicy, salty, sweet, tangy, hearty, everything. I recommend using a second lime’s worth of juice, as it really brightened everything up and made the other flavors stand out.