Now that we’re stepping foot into winter, my brain turns towards chilli. Hot soups and stews are guaranteed to keep you warm as you watch the snow drift outside your window. This chilli recipe attempts to be healthy by introducing ground turkey instead of all beef, but compromises nothing on taste.
I have very strong memories of chilli. Friday nights were my family’s designated night to visit my grandma and the night my brother and I got to eat “bad” food. We spend a lot of time at the cafeteria of agonizing who would get mac and cheese, which soup to pick, how much we were willing to share with each other. Without fail though, we would gravitate towards the chilli. The ladies at the cafeteria could pretty much predict our order and always knew that we wanted shredded cheddar added with toasted bread. Anytime my parents managed to get something other than chilli onto our trays, the ladies would ask, “What? No chilli today?” This makes me want to call up my brother and see if he remembers this as well as I do.
What we had at the time was probably pretty mediocre chilli, but it’s still the chilli I remember best and still defines chilli for me. This recipe is a bit of an upgrade from cafeteria chilli. I traded half of the ground beef out for ground turkey and added peppers alongside carrots to pretend to be healthy. For the longest time I avoided beans because I thought the NSSSO hated them. I’ve been recently informed that that wasn’t true, and he didn’t mind them, so kidney beans made their way back into my chilli recipe.
I always made my chilli with fresh tomatoes but was consistently told that the colour wasn’t right. Fresh tomatoes are more liquid (I guess) and produces much less colour than crushed canned tomatoes. Honestly, that never bothered me, but when I fed other people that was the comment that came up over and over again, so I switched gears. I added crushed tomatoes instead and yes, the colour was definitely more red and more reminiscent to what chilli should look like, I guess. I still maintain that fresh tomatoes weren’t an issue, but people were aesthetically pleased and stopped asking me about it, so I could that as a win.
Now, ready for my chilli recipe that’s not quite how I remembered it in childhood but still makes me super happy and brings back memories for me? I knew you were.
As usual, I advise that you gather your ingredients before starting this recipe.
Prepare a large pot, this recipe makes six servings after all. Dice your onions, peppers, and carrot until they’re you’re preferred size. Now crush the garlic and give them a rough chop. Set those aside while you heat the pot over medium heat.
Once warm, add a bit of oil to your pot and add the onions. Cook them down until they’re browning then add peppers and carrots. Cook them for two minutes. Then add garlic till everything smells fragrant.
After cooking the vegetables, add the meat to the pot. I used both lean ground beef and lean ground turkey. I was worried that this would come out dry, but hey, I was wrong. Which is pleasantly surprising. If you want, you can modify it so it’s an all-beef chilli. I have yet to try and all-turkey attempt yet, but it might be in the books someday. Add cumin, paprika, basil, red chili flakes, and cayenne to the pot and brown the meat.
After you brown the meat, add the kidney beans, and crushed canned tomatoes. Stir to incorporate then add the water. It might look like too much and that everything in your pot is drowning but trust me on this.
Now’s the easy part, bring everything to a boil. This could take some time, but patience is a virtue, right? Once it boils, take it down to a simmer and let it simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. This is where I usually clean up the kitchen or watch tv or do a chore since chilli needs to little time.
After an hour of simmer, salt and taste it. This is the moment I would recommend making adjustments. Is it spicy enough? You’d like more of a specific flavour? This is the moment to make changes. After you’re happy with what you taste, simmer it for another half an hour.
Serve hot. I’d recommend garlic toast, if you melt some cheddar cheese on top that would make all my wildest childhood chilli dreams come true. The chilli will hold up okay if you put it in the fridge (after it’s cooled) for about a week, sealed of course (yay plastic wrap!).
So, this is the adult version of my childhood dream, simple, no?
Hearty ChilliCourse: Dinner, LunchDifficulty: Easy
2 Peppers (I prefer red, yellow and/or orange)
3 Cloves of Garlic
500g Extra Lean Ground Beef
500g Extra Lean Ground Turkey
540mL Red Kidney Beans
800mL Crushed Canned Tomatoes
1 TBSP Cumin
2 TSP Paprika
1 TSP Basil
½ TSP Red Chili Flakes
1 TSP Salt
3 Cups of Water
- Cut up and dice one (1) onion, two (2) peppers, one (1) carrot. Set those aside. Crush and roughly chop three (3) cloves of garlic. Measure out your spices and herbs.
- Heat pot over medium heat until warm, add oil and brown onions. Once onions are brown, about five minutes, add in peppers and carrots, cook for two minutes. Toss in garlic pieces afterwards and cook till fragrant.
- Now add the ground beef and ground turkey and brown. They will release water, don’t worry.
- Once the meat is mostly brown, add 1 TBSP cumin, 1 TSP paprika, 1 TSP basil, ½ TSP red chili flakes, 1 TSP cayenne. Cook until fragrant.
- Once things smell delicious, add the kidney beans and crushed tomatoes and mix. After everything is mixed to your liking, add the three (3) cups of water.
- Set your heat to high and wait until it boils. Once the chilli boils, lower the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for one (1) hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add one (1) TSP salt, mix, and check the taste. This is where you make any adjustments. Let simmer for another 30 minutes and your chilli should be ready. Add black pepper to taste.