Quite honestly, to me ground turkey is one of life’s bigger turnoffs. In order to achieve its undoubtedly low calorie profile, every possible bit of fat has been given the heave ho leaving the cook desperate for ways to make it palatable. Have you noticed how often Turkey Burgers are covered with cheese and all manners of ‘special sauces’ to make up for their lack of taste? Of course, this completely defeats the purpose of eating the stuff in the first place. But there are ways to add flavor and still keep the calorie count under control. One of them is Turkey Chili.
My friend Linda makes the best Turkey Chili. It’s the centerpiece of an all-ages party she gives around Thanksgiving. One year she told me her recipe was a take on one in The Silver Palate Cookbook. Unfortunately, most of our cookbooks, including the Silver Palate, are kept in the country where they have plenty of room. But last weekend, lo and behold, Andrew discovered a recipe for Turkey Chili in Food and Wine.
It was in an article about 8 Chefs who are shadows of their former selves. The group collectively has lost almost 600 lbs. They’ve done it in a variety of intriguing and not-so-intriguing ways. One went on a vegan diet for a month. One became a triathelete. One danced alone to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” . And one, Ronnie Killen of Houston, lost 215 lbs by eating Turkey Chili. Well, not really. He cut his portion sizes way down and, on days when he wants to indulge at dinner, he eats Turkey Chili at lunch.
I didn’t follow Chef Killen’s recipe to the letter. I didn’t have the New Mexico Chili powder he used and that I could not find. And the ancho chili powder was not around either. Instead I used Southwestern chili powder and lots of it. I also used Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with green chiles. And my tomato sauce was greatly enhanced by a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. But all in all, this was one sensational bowl of chili. And since I bet we’re still in for a couple more cold days, one I’d highly recommend. It ‘s even given me a new-found respect for…ground turkey. Here’s the recipe.
Recipe for Turkey Chili
In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add the turkey, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat, until white throughout, 4 minutes.
Add the garlic, onion, chile powders and the cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce and 1 cup of water; bring to a simmer.
Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 45 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of Sour Cream and garnished with cilantro.
The chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.