I’m writing this post on an iPhone in the passenger seat of a Kia Soul barreling up I-5, so please forgive any typos and run-on sentences.
Last night I made turkey chili and had some friends over. It was a big hit. I used ground turkey, but you can just as easily throw some chopped up leftover Thanksgiving turkey instead (skip the browsing step, naturally). Here’s the recipe.
2 pounds ground turkey
Half-pound bacon, diced
1 pound dry kidney beans, soaked overnight (or a blend of beans), drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
5 jalapeños, chopped (discard the seeds and vein for a milder chili)
6 ounces beer (pale ale or lager)
1 large tomato, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 14oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 4oz can tomato paste
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon each cumin, chili powder, salt
1 teaspoon each cayenne, black pepper, garlic powder
2 bay leaves
Additional seasoning to taste
In a Dutch oven or thick-bottomed pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the meat starts to crisp.
Add onions and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes, then add the peppers and fresh tomato and cook until they start to soften. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the beans, stirring to incorporate ingredients evenly.
Add beer, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, salt, cayenne, black pepper, and garlic powder. Stir.
Add enough chicken stock to cover the beans and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If the chili looks too dry, add more chicken stock as needed.
In a bowl, mix the turkey with salt, pepper, and egg.
In an oiled frying pan over medium high heat, cook the turkey, breaking it up into small clumps as letting the meat brown.
Add the meat and meat juice to the chili pot and simmer for at least another hour, stirring occasionally.
Carefully taste the chili and adjust seasonings as needed. If it tastes right and the beans are tender, you’re ready to go.
Serve chili with your favorite garnishes. I like sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, fresh diced onion, cilantro, and tortilla chips.
Good chili takes time, but it’s mostly hands-off. Plan on at least 4 hours, so that the onions and peppers dissolve into the mix and all the flavors knit together.