This may be a vast generalization (and do correct me if I’m wrong) but chili isn’t something we typically eat in New Orleans. Our tailgating events are more likely equipped with a spread of gumbo, jambalaya and Popeyes fried chicken and biscuits. The only time I remember having it was in a hot basket of chili cheese fries at Camelia Grill on South Carrollton. And as much as I love that place, with their classic lifer cooks and addicting chocolate freezes, it probably wasn’t the best chili on the planet.
It wasn’t until recently that it made an appearance on my culinary radar. I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for months, and the weather finally started agreeing with me. I’m not kidding when I say my boyfriend ate almost an entire quart of this for dinner. Leave it to me to think those leftovers were going to last us several days…
It’s safe to say the low fat turkey aspect passes the man-tite test (man appetite), while also passing my incredibly low budget test. In the outrageously over-priced concrete paradise that is Manhattan, a pound of turkey is a little over $5. Combine that with my super cheap vegetables from the farmers market by my apartment, and you’ve got a dinner for four (assuming everyone has 2 servings) at around $12. That ain’t bad!
This turkey chili came out even better than I expected. I basically mimicked the method of making bolognese with a few small alterations. The only unhealthy part is the 3 slices of bacon, which can easily be omitted. I just wanted to use the naturally rendered bacon fat rather than oil to add more flavor. But if you want to exclude this step, just add 2 additional tablespoons of oil instead. Note, the nutritional information does not include the cheese or Frito garnish, so use at your own discretion.
- 1 T olive oil
- 3 slices of bacon, finely chopped (optional)
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ green bell pepper
- 1 spanish onion, roughly chopped
- 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 T red wine, preferably merlot (optional)
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed
- 1 15.5 oz can red kidney beans
- 1 ear of corn, kernels removed
- 3 cups hot water
- Place the onion, carrot, garlic and celery in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse roughly ground (not minced)
- In a dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, cook the bacon in the olive oil until all the fat is rendered and the bacon is brown and crispy over medium heat. (if not using bacon, use an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil and skip this step)
- Remove the bacon and strain the oil through a strainer. Return the fat to the pot.
- Sweat the processed vegetables along with the chopped peppers. About 7 minutes. Add the chili powder, cayenne, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the wine and cook until it has reduced completely, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground turkey and break up with a spatula. Cook until no longer pink. Push the meat to one side of the pot and allow the grease to collect. Remove as much as you can with a ladle.
- In the bowl of your food processor, puree the tomatoes until smooth.
- Add the pureed tomatoes to the pot and cook until almost dry, about 20 minutes.
- Add the water, beans and raw corn kernels to the pot. Reduce the flame to a low simmer, cover and let cook for about 2 hours.
Trying to cut back on calories and fat? Try my Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Quinoa