Did everyone try the South Beach Diet ten years ago? My close friends and I surely did. I couldn’t imagine starving myself and depriving myself of much of the food they said we couldn’t eat in those first weeks. So, naturally I modified and scoured the internet for food they considered acceptable; turkey chili was top of the list. Soon all my guy friends were ordering batches of it from me on a weekly basis. I don’t think I ever lost weight from the diet, probably didn’t need to at the time, but these guys sure did and they loved the chili.
So here’s my recipe but first, full disclosure: this recipe is kicked up a bit by roasting, sautéing and grilling my veggies before they go in with the turkey just to give them an extra layer of smokey rich flavors. I never did this for the boys back in the day.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large white onion chopped
- 1 cup celery stalk finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic oven roasted and chopped
- 2 pounds ground turkey 70% lean
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes chopped with seeds kept in
- 2 tablespoons of chili powder
- 2 teaspoons of cumin
- 1 tablespoon of fresh or dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons of hot Hungarian paprika
- 2 to 4 small sweet red peppers or 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
- dash or two of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup of bone broth
- 1 32oz. can of tomato sauce
- 1 to 2 15 oz. cans of beans depending on your preference (kidney, black or pinto)
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large heavy pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and celery. Fire roast the peppers or grill on pan while oven roasting the garlic. I oven roast the garlic by wrapping it in aluminum foil with a little olive oil and place in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or so. Once those two are done, add your garlic and peppers to the onions and celery. (You may want to do this ahead of time). Add your spices and herbs and sauté for another 5 minutes until mixed well. Add the ground turkey and cook until lightly brown breaking down the meat with a wooden spoon.
Add the tomatoes, broth and tomato sauce, bringing to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans (do not strain) and salt and pepper to taste. Stirring, cook for another 10 minutes. Serve in bowls with grated cheddar, fresh oregano and green onions – or any combination you prefer. I sometimes top mine with homemade tortilla chips and a slice of avocado, lime and cilantro.
I should note that I also like to make my bone broths ahead of time (following Thanksgiving and Christmas I had a lot to work with) and freeze them in ice trays, ziplock bags and repurposed quart containers. I also slow-cooked this for another 4 hours in the oven on low (about 275 degrees Fahrenheit) just to be sure all of those flavors get married, make love and have babies! If you do this too you may want to add another cup of broth, it’s up to you!
I hope you and your friends enjoy this recipe as much as we will tomorrow in the snow!
Happy eating and stay warm!
I still get orders for this dish and when I do, I usually get about 4 quarts out of the recipe. I will add more broth as needed if I’m slow cooking it in the oven as liquid tends to evaporate. This batch is filled to the rim and topped with chopped green onions and flat leaf on parsley!!