It’s that time of year when I get really excited about cooking up warm comfort food like soups and stews. As much as I love summer, I still welcome the fall with it’s fresh, cool feeling, colorful leaves, and the chance to start wearing boots and cozy sweaters.
Soup is definitely one of my favorite foods to enjoy all year long, but especially in the fall and winter. I hope you’ve all had the experience of slurping up your mom’s or grandmother’s homemade soup on cold winter nights. I distinctly remember coming in after playing all day in the snow to find a bowl of my mom’s steaming soup or chili waiting for us. I feel happy that I have more than a few of those memories.
My mom used to make Chili from scratch all the time, and this recipe is similar to hers, but with a few additions to give it a little extra bite.
The great thing about chili is that it’s actually very quick to whip up. Sometimes it’s better the next day, but if you take your time in building the flavors in the pan – it will be totally wonderful after simmering just twenty minutes. I always find that adding either coffee, beer, vodka or even chocolate make the chili taste extra good. Try it, you’ll see what I mean!
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons chipotle chile powder
- 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- salt to taste
- pinch of sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you like to extra spicy
- 2 diced tomatoes, or 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 11/2 cups tomato sauce or puree
- 1 cup beer, wine or coffee
- 2 tablespoons freshly crushed garlic
- 1 small (15 oz) can each of the following beans – black, pinto and kidney (I prefer Trader Joe’s Organic Beans), drained and rinsed
- optional - ¼ cup green or black olives
- Add olive oil to cover bottom of large pot. On medium heat, saute onions for a couple minutes.
- Add celery, carrots and continue to saute for another few minutes until slightly tender. Remove veggies from pan, but leave heat on and remaining oil and bits in pan.
- If necessary, add a little more olive oil to pan. Break up turkey, add to same pan and brown on medium high heat. While browning, add all the spices: chile powders, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, cayene pepper, cumin seeds. Make sure pan is hot enough to brown turkey while cooking.
- Push turkey to the side of the pan, and on the clean side add a little more olive oil and the garlic; saute for about a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.
- Add the diced tomatoes, stir and de-glaze the pan to make sure all the flavors are incorporated. Return the onion and celery mixture to pan; cook for a few minutes.
- Add the beer (or wine, vodka or coffee). Stir everything together and continue to cook for another minute or two. Add tomato puree, stir and let simmer for another couple minutes. Taste and add more salt or spices as needed.
- Add all three types of beans and bring to a simmer once again. If chili seems too thick, add a little chicken broth or water.
- Stir, cover loosely and let simmer on low for about 30 minutes. Note: Chili will look a little soupy at this point, but after it simmers it will thicken.
- Serving suggestion:
- Ladle in bowls and top with chopped white or green onions, chopped cilantro, and some shredded jack or cheddar cheese. Add chopped jalapeno peppers for more heat!