Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Take a peek at my favorite dining table sitting cold and forlorn on the back patio.  Awwe! It looks so cold waiting for spring to arrive.

Well, if your outside dining table looks anything like mine, it's time to consider a nice dinner of steaming chili to help chase away the cold. 

Of course, you could stop at Wendy's for a fast chili fix, or pick some up at your local market.  But have you tasted that stuff lately?  Gloppy and tasteless is what I've found recently.  Why even bother?  Really?  It's not that hard to make chili, lots of folks do it.  Even lots of men who don't cook, have a personal chili recipe they will make.  Our family favorite recipe is a huge pot of traditional tomato-based chili with lots of beef and pinto beans and I do love it.  But today I found some fresh ground turkey on sale so decided to make myself a lighter version with white beans and leave out the tomatoes.

Mine is made with ground turkey, hence a little less fat and calories as a nod to the upcoming warmer weather clothing we're all hoping to wear in a few short months.  Low fat, low sodium chicken stock keeps the lighter taste and some meaty white beans give it some heft.  Since I leave out the tomatoes in my turkey chili, I work especially hard to ensure the spices are bloomed well and give off lots of flavor.

I've used a pretty yellow pepper today, but feel free to use whatever pepper you have on hand or is cheaper at the market.  So let's get started!  Yum Chili!

1 large bell pepper (yellow, red or green)
2 carrots (I seldom peel my carrots, the skin is actually full of vitamins. Wash them well though)
2 celery stalks
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbls. canola oil
1 pound ground turkey (I use mixture of dark and white turkey)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbls. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
4 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
2 cups white beans (uncooked but soaked overnight*)
juice of 1 lime

Put the salt and pepper into a small bowl and set aside.  Use this seasoning during the entire process of sauteing the vegetables and meat to ensure that each part of the process is seasoned effectively.

Chop the pepper, carrots, celery and onion into half inch size dice. Set the bell pepper aside in a small bowl.  Since our Chili will cook for awhile, leaving these bite size will leave them looking lovely in the finished pot.

Mince the garlic clove and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed dutch oven sized pot, heat the 2 Tbls. oil over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, put in the carrots, celery and onion, season with some of the salt/pepper, and saute until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pot and saute for an additional 3 minutes (don't let it burn). 

Add the ground turkey to the pot and saute, stirring constantly, until the turkey is no longer pink, adding some salt/pepper as you go.

Once the turkey is done, add in the chili powder and cumin and make sure to distribute evenly throughout the mixture, then saute for another 2-3 minutes to bloom the spices.

Add the bell pepper, stock and beans* to the pot.  Add water to the pot to ensure the entire contents are covered with liquid.

Cook over a medium heat for about 90 minutes if you're using uncooked beans as I do.  Taste to see if you need any additional seasoning.  Once the beans are thoroughly cooked, your chili is ready to eat!  I like to add lime juice to give this a little fresh kick at the end.  Once you pull the pot off the stove, add the juice and stir to combine.

* a note about beans.  I used Great Northern because that's what was in my pantry.  Feel free to use any white bean but cooking time may vary depending upon the size.  You can certainly use canned beans here but if you do, don't add the beans until the chili has cooked for about 30 minutes, then add your beans and once they're heated through, you're ready to eat.

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