Chicken or Turkey and Beans Chili

Cold weather is setting in, the days are getting shorter and even on the sunniest of days, one still needs to bundle up. This is the weather that requires tucking into a warm bowl of soup or stew after coming in from the cold. Thanksgiving comes earlier in Canada, we celebrate it a month earlier than Americans, and last week we made a chicken chili instead of having the traditional turkey. (We would have used turkey, but my Mum didn’t have her readers on when she went to pick it up. To be fair, though, the chicken and turkey (both ground) were close together.)

This will have been only the second recipe for chili I’ve made so far, and it’s a good one. It was an instant favourite with my family – there were no leftovers – and it has the traditional chili flavours with bacon and ground turkey (or chicken, which is tofu-like in that it absorbs the spices and flavours of the ingredients) and the addition of cocoa powder gives it depth and a subtle flavour of its own. (I had not used cocoa powder before in chili and despite my doubts, I was pleasantly surprised and happy I went along with it.) We also used red and white kidney beans in celebration of Canadian spirit.

The only (minor) changes I made to the chili was using honey instead of molasses (we practically never use it, so it would be pointless to buy something we might only use once) and using only two tins of beans compared to the recipe originally using three.

Chicken or Turkey and Beans Chili
Adapted slightly from Everyday Food

While I have made mention of how much garlic I used, the amount of onions will vary depending on the size of the onions you’re using and how large or finely you chop them.

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 pounds ground chicken or turkey
4 cups chopped onions
1/4 cup minced garlic (I used a whole head of garlic)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
3 tbsp. chili powder
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
4 tsp. ground cumin
2 (28 ounce) tins whole tomatoes in juice or puree
2 tbsp. honey
1 cup water
4 tsp. salt
2 (15 ounce) tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Cook the bacon over medium heat in a large pot until crisped and browned, about 2 minutes. Add the ground chicken or turkey, breaking it up and cook until it’s no longer pink, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the onions, garlic, and jalapeno peppers and cook until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cocoa powder, and cumin, stirring to coat and until fragrant.

Use your hands or a spoon to break up the tomatoes and add to the pot with the juices or puree. Add honey, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 30 minutes, until beans and meat are tender.

Serve and enjoy!

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