Black Bean & Turkey Chili

December 9, 2007


To me, Sunday and chili are meant for each other.  When else do you have an hour to leisurely chop onions, mince garlic and slice jalapenos?  What other day is there a football game on the background, halftime looming and calling for a bowl of stomething steamy?  (Actually, suddenly there is an NFL game on every day.  Every year, I am surprised by this turn of events.  Not in a good way.)  And this Sunday, I am facing down two weeks of law school final exams.  Naturally, I need chili.


Chili is a pretty contentious thing.  In fact, you might have taken one look at the photo of my chili above and declared it entirely unsuitable.  For one thing, there are beans it in, which some find blasphemous.  And, tomatoes?  How dare I.  And then there will be the awfully strange Cincinnati folks who will be outraged not to find any spaghetti in the photo.  I tend to be more accepting of the chilis of the world: I like ’em all.  My only small requests are that it be very spicy, please, and that I be afforded a very wide range of toppings. 


The last Sunday we made chili, we created a rather meager topping selection: Greek yogurt (trust me, Fage is so good, you’ll end up preferring it over sour cream and possibly even creme fraiche), diced cheddar, sliced scallions and lime wedges.  But I’m certainly not opposed to avocados, minced red onion, crushed blue tortilla chips, cilantro. Or my baked tortilla strips: those would be good.  Um, apparently if I had my way, I’d be turning chili into nachos.  Just realized that.  Good thing I don’t give myself my way very often. 

Black Bean & Turkey Chili
Adapted from Various Cooking Light Recipes 

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground turkey breast
Salt and pepper
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ cups red wine
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes (such as Muir Glen)
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans (no salt added), drained and rinsed

Potential toppings: Greek yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche; shredded or diced sharp cheddar; sliced scallions or minced red onion; crushed tortilla chips or baked tortilla strips; fresh lime wedges.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add turkey and season with salt and pepper.  Stir to crumble and brown on all sides.  Add the onion, jalapeno, pepper and garlic; stir.  Cook five minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften.   

Combine chili powder, brown sugar and oregano in a small bowl; stir with a fork to combine.  Add the spices and sugar to the pot; stir.  Cook for one minute, or until very fragrant.    Add tomato paste; stir.  Cook for one minute.  Slowly pour in the wine; stir to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with toppings.  *  Note: The Buttermilk Corn Bread I recently wrote about was excellent served alongside this chili.

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