December 28, 2008

Jen's Spicy Turkey Chili

I think ground turkey gets a bum rap sometimes. I really think it is an under-utilized protein choice. It is healthy, it has a great texture and mouth-feel, and it is basically a blank canvas. Some people complain that it is bland, but I say pish-posh...that's the beauty of ground turkey! Sure, on it's own it is fairly benign in flavor; but it picks up other flavors and spices wonderfully. You can turn it into almost anything. I love to substitute ground turkey for ground beef... especially in soups, stews, and sauces. AND did I mention it is good for you???? Well, it is worth mentioning again. Another common complaint that I have heard is that it can be pricey. That is true. It is hard for me to fork out $8 for one pound of ground turkey. I usually only buy it on sale. Although, I noticed today at Safeway that their generic store-brand of ground turkey was a little less than half the price of the name-brand stuff in the green and white packaging. I really, really LOVE Safeway...but that is a story for another post. on to tonight's dinner. I have been fighting off the end of my cold for over two weeks now. Just when it seems like it is gone, I get another little run of stuffy head, cough, and scratchy throat. Honestly, this little sickness has been quite pesky. Ugh. Anyway, I always crave spicy food when I am sick. I love clearing out my sinus passages with hot and spicy flavors. It seems a little strange, I know...but hey, that is what I like when I am under the weather. Also, it makes me just a little light-headed and it feels kinda good. I enjoy a little light-headedness from time to time.
I had this meal slotted for last night, but we had the cat fiasco to deal with and it got pushed back. I am happy that we decided to make it tonight, because it totally hit the spot. Since we already ate and it is not a new dish for us, I am not going to do a formal review. I will just say that it turned out perfect. I made some corn bread for the side dish, and called it a done deal. Don't get excited...the corn bread was out of a box so it was nothing too special, but it paired well with the chili. It was exactly what I was in the mood to eat tonight. Yum! The ingredients list seems long, but really that is because this is one of those dishes that I just add in whatever I have in hand at the time. This dish is pretty flexible, so it can be easily changed to suit your tastes or whatever you have on hand. Think of the recipe like a basic blueprint. You can adjust it as you go. If I am missing an ingredient or two then I just leave them out. (Tonight I did not have any celery, white beans, or red wine...I just used white wine instead of red, omitted the celery, and doubled the amount of kidney beans.) It still turns out delicious!

Jen's Spicy Turkey Chili

1 package of ground Turkey (approx. 1.25 lbs)
1 can of kidney beans (15 oz can), rinsed and drained
1 can of white or northern beans (15 oz can), rinsed and drained 1 large can of diced tomatoes (28 oz can)
1 can of tomato paste (1 small can or ½ of large can)
1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (use 1 pepper for less spicy; 2-3 for more spicy)
1 package of chili seasoning mix (use mild for less spicy; hot for more spicy)
1 large yellow onion
3 celery stalks
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
½ cup of red wine
1-2 cups of low sodium beef broth (add more if needed)
1-2 cups of water (add more if needed)
Cooking Spray
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
OPTIONAL-1 cup of pureed vegetables (choose from carrots, sweet potato, cauliflower, butternut squash)

Shredded cheese to taste for topping
Low Fat Sour Cream or Plain Low Fat Yogurt to taste for topping

1)Spray large sauté pan or enamel pot with cooking spray and add olive oil on high heat
2)Sauté onion, minced garlic, celery, and chipotle peppers in pan. Sauté until onions & celery are soft and onions are translucent (do not let garlic burn)
3)Add ground turkey to brown, and add salt and pepper to taste
4) Add all spices, package of chili seasoning, red wine, beef broth and let simmer for 3 minutes. Stir to combine.
5)Add can of diced tomato with juice, pureed vegetables (optional), and add both kidney and white/northern beans. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir to combine.
6)Add water and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
7)Let chili simmer on high for 45 minutes to 1 hour, let reduce to desired thickness.
8)Serve in bowls topped with sprinkle of shredded cheese and dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt

Jen’s Notes:
If additional flavor is needed add one or more of the following:

Ground mustard
Worcestershire sauce
Red wine vinegar

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