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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Turkey Bean Chili and master chef in training

Beans are a nutritional and healthy powerhouse.  duh.  This is nothing new.  Just happened upon Dr. Oz (ooh) the other day, who had an expert on his show talking about the benefits of red kidney and pinto beans..  their cancer fighting properties and how we should try to fit them in our diet as often as possible. So, I thought it was time to share my turkey chili recipe.   
This recipe is my go to for quick and easy (almost all pantry staples), comfort food that makes great left-overs and is just super delicious and healthy.  I feel good eating it and serving it up to my little one.  She loves her "ceci-ers" -pronounced cheechers (garbanzo beans) and "hot dog beans" (kidney).. and they are in there along with black beans and sometimes I even add cannelloni beans.  Beans, beans, beans, beans.  Basically, you can add more or less. I also love the addition of corn here, it not only adds a bit of colour in a dark bowl but it also adds the little bit of needed sweetness and even thickens it a bit. The cinnamon and cocoa may seem out of place here, but they aren't.  Try it.  They both add depth and richness of flavor and trust me, it does not scream "chocolate chili" when you're done.  
This chili does not need to be simmered all day, It can be eaten right away which is what I usually do and love about it.  However.. it can be partially cooked in the pan and then add all ingredients into a slow cooker and cooked on low til you get home or ready to serve.  It's easy, not fussy. I am making this chili more often in winter, heading for the pantry and most often, don't have fresh cilantro on hand.  I found these frozen cubes of cilantro (avail at Trader Joe's) and I love it.. Always have the basil and cilantro in the freezer.. and when I need it a cube or 2 delivers an amazing fresh taste of summer.  Good enough to make guacamole or salsa with. 

Turkey & Bean Chili 

   3 T. olive oil
   1 lb. ground turkey
   1 large onion, chopped
   2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

   3/4 t. sea salt
   1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
   3 T. oregano
   2 t. cumin
   1 T. unsweetened cocoa (darker preferably) 
   1/4 t. cayenne pepper

   15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
    small can of green chilies chopped (not hot)
   1 cup of chicken stock

   can of black beans, drained and rinsed well
   can of red beans, drained and rinsed well
   can of ceci or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
   can of creamed corn

   red onion, chopped
   fresh cilantro, torn
   avocado, large dice
   sliced jalapeños
   sour cream 

1.  Heat 2 T. olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven on medium high. 
2.  Add ground turkey, breaking up with wooden spoon cook till no longer pink and barely done.
3.  Add onion and sauté 2 minutes with turkey meat. Push to the side of pan and drain any excessive liquid with a spoon. Add a glugg of olive oil, to empty side of pan. Add to it garlic and saute till just cooked, not brown, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix into meat/onion mixture.
4.  Turn down heat to low and stir in S+ P, oregano, cumin, cocoa and pepper. 
5.  Add tomatoes, chilies, chicken stock, beans and corn.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with toppings and cornbread.    
If you like spicy, chipotles in adobe sauce is my favorite heat to add. But it seems everyone around me is not into hot.. and with a little one, we are heat free nowadays.

Making it at Nana & Pop-pop's with my little 2 year old helper
She is fascinated with onion skin, no matter how hard I try to keep her away.

Getting the spices ready.. tap, tap, tap.

Seriously.  Stop touching the onions, already!

always likes to stack the cans

Her favorite part.. rinsing the beans.

Once the spices are added.. such great colour.

Adding chilies and tomatoes

and almost done.. yum!

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