Weekend Cooking Challenge: Turkey Chili
Beth from Beth Fish Reads recently created a new challenge–Weekend Cooking–and from the minute I read about it, I knew that sharing my Turkey Chili recipe with the book blogging community would be my top priority! But first, a bit of background for perspective…
Cooking isn’t my strong suit–I’m first to admit this–my husband heartily seconds the fact–but to be fair, I get home after 7pm most nights and a showdown with my stove, empty fridge, and forlorn pantry is not exactly how I want to round out my day. What I can cook is great, but my culinary repertoire is limited to tacos, Shepherd’s pie, and pasta. Oh, and I get a lot of mileage out of “Breakfast for Dinner.” Is it any surprise that we eat out a lot?
Compounding this is my palate, which has oft been compared to that of a 7-year-old’s. Kraft mac & cheese would trump your grandmother’s homemade version any day of the week. In my dreams, streets are paved with mashed potatoes and grilled cheese is the sun in the sky. Spices, flavors, and anything from the ocean are my Kryptonite. It’s easier for me to list the food I will eat rather than the stuff I won’t.
But the moral of this diatribe isn’t to highlight my inflexibility when it comes to trying new things, it’s to introduce you to a simple and delicious recipe for autumn! Raid your larder for the following 9 ingredients:
Roughly dice a medium white onion and three or four green bell peppers. Toss them into a frying pan (mine is 14″) with some olive oil. Saute until softened and a bit browned.
Once cooked, transfer onions and peppers to a Crockpot*. Using the same frying pan, turn up the heat to High and get ready to fry up some turkey meat! This is where the magic happens…IF you follow my instructions! (Before adding ground turkey to the pan, I go through it by hand just to make sure there aren’t any weird gristly pieces or crunchy bits. Feel free to omit this step if you’re brave.) Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to brown the meat in two or three batches. I use 3 pounds of ground turkey meat and season it with salt and a dash of pepper.
I apologize for the disturbing close-up but don’t want you to miss the most vital step of the recipe. After tossing the turkey into a flaming hot pan, DO NOT TOUCH IT until one side browns/burns/caramelizes. Caramelizing is what gives the turkey a nutty, red-meat flavor. Note how the turkey gets a bit foamy as it almost cooks through. Only flip the meat when it resembles this picture, 7-12 minute cook time. (I flipped the piece in the middle so you can see what it looks like on the browned side.)
This is what the meat should look like when it’s finished cooking. I usually break it up into smaller pieces before adding it to the Crockpot. And speaking of the Crockpot, it should now contain the cooked peppers and onions, one box (26 oz) of chicken broth, 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes, 2 or 3 cans of red kidney beans (RINSED and drained), 2 tablespoons of both sugar and chili powder, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. To this, add the browned meat.
The longer you cook this chili, the better the flavor–3 to 5 hours with the Crockpot lid snugly latched. After that, I leave the lid ajar and cook it for another hour or two to allow some of the liquid evaporate, creating thicker chili. Doesn’t this look tempting? Come to mama…
You can dish this up naked or with cheese, crackers, sour cream, and/or jalepenos. Enjoy!
Nat’s Turkey Chili (That Doesn’t Suck) adapted from The Canyon Ranch
- 3lbs. ground turkey breast
- 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 26oz. chicken broth (Swanson box has 26oz.)
- 2 cans dark red kidney beans, RINSED
- 3 green peppers
- 1 medium white onion
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- olive oil for the pan
1. Roughly dice onion and peppers. Sauté in pan with olive oil until soft; transfer to Crockpot or pot.
2. Turn up heat to high and brown/burn/caramelize turkey on one side. DO NOT FLIP IT TOO SOON…it must caramelize for flavor!
3. Rinse kidney beans and add to Crockpot. Toss in peppers and onions. Add box of chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt, and chili powder.
4. After meat is completely cooked, add to Crockpot. Set on high and cook for at least 3 hours. The longer you cook it, the better the flavor! If you want to cook it longer, watch to make sure it doesn’t burn. Turn to low after 5 hours. I leave my Crockpot lid ajar during the last hour of cooking to help the liquid evaporate a bit so the chili can thicken.
5. Dish up with cheese, sour cream, crackers, peppers, or whatever floats your boat. ENJOY!
*This recipe can be prepared on the stove top in a pot if you don’t have a Crockpot. Watch and adjust the cooking time as the chili cooks much faster on the stove.