A couple of weeks ago, there was a sign up list for a chili cook-off at work. The first ten people to sign up would participate and if they won, their chili would be featured in the cafeteria at work for a week. The deadline came and went (I was so busy with work, it slipped my mind), and I thought I had missed out on my chance to try and win this thing. I was wrong. I went to the cafeteria to get my silverware and glass of water during lunch and noticed that there were only a few people on the list. I guess it was meant to be. So I signed up.
The first thing that came to my mind was that I did not want to make just plain ol' chili. Don't get me wrong, I love regular beef and bean chili, but I wanted to spice it up and do something the judges would love (hopefully). I few years ago my mom got me hooked on this turkey chipotle chili. It has the right amount of spiciness from the chipotles in adobo (more on this later) and the right amount of heartiness from the cannelini beans and crushed tomatoes. It's quick, it's easy and you can have it ready to eat in just about 30 minutes. Seriously, 30 minutes. How awesome it that. Who doesn't love a quick dinner. I know I do. Especially after a long day, who wants to slave in the kitchen. Not me. Okay, I am getting away from the reason we are here - chili!
This is easy and I bet you already have everything you need to make this. Well, maybe not the chipotles in adobo, but you can find those in just about any store these days. They will most likely be located in with all the other Spanish or Mexican ingredients in your grocery store. Here are what the ones I picked up look like. They are usually in a small can and about $2, give or take. For this recipe you will only need two plus a little of the sauce, so make sure not to throw the extras away. Put them in a plastic baggie or small tupperware and toss them in your freezer. Trust me, you'll be wanting to make this recipe again after you try it.
Like I said before, this one is super easy. It's more or less a throw everything in and let it simmer until you are ready to eat. Cook the onions and garlic until soft and then add the seasonings and chipotles. Then add the ground turkey meat and cook until fully cooked and browned. Add the beer (I used Firestone here, but I am biased for San Luis Obispo beer, but use what you have on hand), beans and tomatoes and simmer. See, told you. Easy!
|if you can, use the leanest ground turkey you can. This will make for an even lower fat chili!|
|love this garlic - pick it up and keep it in your freezer! One cube = one clove. Find it at your local Trader Joes!|
|onions, garlic and spices. smells heavenly. too bad this picture is not scratch and sniff.|
|cut open the chipotles and remove the seeds. Keep them in if you like it hot.|
|turkey meat. gobble gobble.|
|beer and tomatoes added|
|simmer simmer boil boil|
Now, let's take a break and let me know you how how to make your own oven baked tortilla strips and chips to top your chili with. All you will need is corn tortillas (white or yellow, whatever you like or have on hand), salt and some non-stick spray. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut you tortillas into strips or small little chips. Spray the pan with non-stick spray, lay your chips on the pan in a single layer. Then spray the tops with the non-stick spray.
|ready to bake!|
Bake for about 8-10 minutes, but keep an eye on them. I would say, check on them at about 6 minutes just to be safe. If they are at your desired level of brownness, take them out and sprinkle a little sea salt on them. You can omit the last step, but if you do add the salt, do it as soon as you take them out and toss them around a bit. Warning - don't sample these as soon as they come out of the oven. You will burn your tongue. At least I did. Ouch.
Once the chili has simmered for about 30 minutes, you are ready to eat! I serve my with a dollop of low-fat or fat free sour cream, green onions and some of the strips. Where is scratch and sniff when you need it.
|this is almost too pretty to eat.|
Turkey Chipotle Chili (slightly adapted from Rachael Rays 30 minute chili)
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 chipotle chile en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 2-3 tablespoons sauce
1 pound ground turkey
1 (12-ounce) beer
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced, with their juice
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile
Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the garnishes of your choice.
How good does that sound? I always double this recipe and save the left overs in the freezer for a day when I don't want to make dinner or need an easy lunch. As for the results of the chili contest, I did not win, but that is okay. It was a blind tasting and the winner had more of a traditional chili. I still feel like a winner though. My old boss LOVED my chili. In fact, he thought it was the best one and he had no idea it was mine (remember, blind tasting). He told me the next time we have a company party, that I have to make the chili. YES SIR!