It is the perfect time of year for chili, and I had the perfect opportunity to make it this past weekend. We had just gotten back from visiting my best friend in Duluth, and our neighbors were coming over to watch the Vikings game (the 3-1 Vikings at the time!). Everyone has their own recipe for chili, and many are probably like mine; it changes a little each time, but generally the ingredients stay the same. Growing up (and still), my dad always made a big pot of chili that would last my family for an entire week. This is where I first learned to make it myself. I pretty much stick to his recipe, with a few small changes.
I like to make turkey chili, but this would be just as good with ground beef, chicken – whatever YOU like to make your chili with. Additionally, use whatever types of beans you like. I use black, dark kidney, white kidney, and chili beans. For some reason, the liquid in the beans kinda grosses me out, which is why I choose to drain my beans, except for the chili beans, because that liquid is seasoned and delicious and doesn’t look like some weird clear gelatinous goo 😛
The awesome thing about chili is that it is so versatile. Not just with what ingredients you put in it, but how you eat it. Of course there’s the traditional way of in a bowl with some choice toppings, but you can also make chili fries, chili dogs/brats, chili burgers, baked potatoes topped with chili, nachos, chili tacos or taco salad, and so on and so forth. The possibilities are endless, so make a huge pot of chili and don’t be afraid to try it in a new vessel! If all else fails, chili freezes super well, so you can either put a large amount in gallon sized zip-top freezer bag, or individual servings in quart sized zip-top freezer baggies.
Four Bean Turkey Chili
Source: Pigzilla Original, adapted from Mr. Pigzilla (my dad)
Servings: A LOT, probably 12-15
2 lbs lean ground turkey
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bell peppers, diced (I use one yellow, red, and green)
4 jalapeno peppers, diced (and seeded for less heat)
1 large onion, diced
1 can low-sodium black beans, mostly drained
1 can low-sodium dark kidney beans, mostly drained
1 can low-sodium white kidney beans, mostly drained
1 can low-sodium chili beans
1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
1 12 oz beer (I use whatever I have on hand, this time I home-brewed Oktoberfest)
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch cilantro
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and brown meat. Add garlic for last 2 minutes of browning. Drain and transfer meat to large stock pot or slow cooker.
2. Using the same pan, add olive oil and saute peppers and onions over medium heat until slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes. You may have to work in batches depending on how large the skillet is. Transfer to stock pot or slow cooker with turkey.
3. Add all beans to stock pot or slow cooker with turkey and vegetables. Add tomatoes with all juices. Using a wooden spoon, break up whole tomatoes into smaller pieces. Add beer, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon. Salt and pepper to taste. If using stock pot over stove top, simmer mixture for at least one hour to let flavors develop and alcohol cook out of the beer. If using a slow cooker, cook on high for at least one hour, or low for 2-4 hours.
4. Stir in cilantro just before serving. Garnish with desired toppings (raw white or green onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, cheese, hot sauce, cilantro, tortilla chips, cheddar jalapeno beer bread, Greek yogurt/sour cream, corn bread…).