Monday, December 8, 2014

Turkey and Veggie Chili

Is there a more suitable dish for a cold night than chili?  I am not sure there is.  Chili is such a hearty and warm dish that is also completely versatile.  There are so many variations and different ingredients that can be used.  It is honestly one of my favorite things to make because it is so easy, can feed an army, is a one pot (or crock pot) meal and you can make it hours before you need it and it only gets better the longer it simmers.  My Turkey and Veggie Chili is one of my oldest recipes that I first started making when I was trying to get my husband to be more open to ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Needless to say, it worked!  Not only does this chili use turkey to lower the fat content, it also is packed with veggies to provide extra nutrients and flavor.  The beans add a ton of protein and fiber making this a healthy and delicious chili.  I make this all the time when we have friends over or for Football Sunday because it is so easy and I can still enjoy my guests without having to be in the kitchen all night.  All you need is a quick pan of corn bread and you have a fantastic full meal done.  People always have seconds and want the recipe, and if there are any leftovers, they make for a delicious lunch the next day!

This is what you need:

1-1 1/2 lbs Ground Turkey (or ground beef)
3 cans of Beans - I use Kidney, Pinto and Black beans because I like the different colors and sizes
2 cans of Diced Tomatoes
1 can of Low Sodium Beef or Chicken Broth
3 Carrots -chopped
1 small Onion - chopped
1 Red Pepper - chopped
4 cloves of Garlic - diced
1 Jalapeno - diced (optional)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 packets of McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix
1 tbsp Cumin
1/2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional Toppings:
Sour Cream
Avocado
Cilantro
Cheese
Onions
Crackers

This is what you do:
Cook the turkey in a dutch oven, or another heavy bottom pot with the 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the carrots, red pepper, jalapeno and onions when the turkey is cooked through.  After a few minutes add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or two.  Empty the chili packets and add the cumin in the pan and cook for a minute or two, then add the two cans of diced tomatoes and 1 can of broth.  Scrape the bottom of the pot with a rood spoon to get all the flavorings off and into the mixture.  Bring to a low boil.  Next, drain and rinse the beans and then place them in the pot.  Mix and lower the heat to low.  Cook for at least an hour and up to 4 hours (the longer the better), stirring every 20-30 minutes with the lid on but cracked.  Once you are ready to eat, taste and add salt and pepper if you like.  Serve and add the toppings of your choice.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 to 4 hours
Serves: 6-10

First thing to do is add the 2 tbsp of olive oil to a Dutch Oven (this is the one I use) or heavy bottom pan and heat on medium high heat for a couple minutes.  Then add the turkey and cook until no longer pink.  While the turkey is cooking, chop the carrots, onion, red pepper and the jalapeno.  When the turkey is cooked through, add the veggies and cook for a couple of minutes.

You want about a half cup of each vegetable except the jalapeno.  I remove the seeds and ribs from my jalapeno before I dice it.

While the veggies are cooking, mince your garlic and add it to the pot.  Cook that for a minute, then add the chili packets and the 1 tbsp of cumin.  Cook that for a minute or 2 while stirring it.  
 Garlic is ready.
 Garlic is added and will cook for about a minute.  This is to make sure the garlic does not burn, because if that happens, you have to start over and who wants to do that?
The chili seasoning packets just make life so easy.  

Now, mix it together and keep stirring it for a minute or two.  Then, add the two cans of diced tomatoes and one can of beef or chicken broth.  Stir all of this together and scrape the sides and the bottom of the pan to get all the flavorings off.  Bring to a low boil. 
 Seasonings are in.
 Tomatoes are in.
Broth is in and now we wait for a low boil.

While this is coming to a boil, dump your three cans of beans into a strainer and rinse them well.  I like to use black, pinto and kidney for the color and size, but use whatever you prefer or have on hand.  Once the chili is boiling, add the beans to pot and stir.  Lower the heat to low and put the lid with a crack to let the steam escape.
 My plastic Ikea strainer has been with me for 13 years and it is still going strong.

The longer you let the chili simmer, the thicker and tastier it will become.  Be sure to stir it every 20-30 minutes and taste it before you serve it.  The chili packets have plenty of salt, but I usually add a pinch or two more.  You can also do this in a Crock Pot, just cook the turkey in a pan before you put it in the crock pot and then just add all the other ingredients at the same time.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  Get your toppings and your cornbread ready and serve!

I hope you make this chili recipe and enjoy at much as my family and I do.  This is a super simple, healthy, gluten free and delicious dish that takes minimal prep work and effort and does not require a ton of clean up.  This kind of dish is right up my ally.
Enjoy!