Third place in my church’s chili cook-off five years ago cemented my belief that the Spicy Turkey Chili that I had been making every Saturday during football season for the past few years was not only a family favorite but a crowd pleaser. (Or at least the judges were fans – especially one who said mine was the best.)
I try not to brag too much, but (in my humble opinion 🙂 ) my chili is the best. I took someone else’s recipe and tweaked it until it became mine.
I make fun of my pastor, who took second place that year, because I think his chili isn’t really chili – it’s goulash. He puts weird stuff in his – vegetables that don’t belong in chili. (Also, it makes me laugh because it reminds me of Uncle Felix and the Irish cook Norah in my favorite Christmas movie,Christmas in Connecticut.)
But someone must think it’s chili, because he won the cook-off a year or two ago. That first one was the only one I entered. Just having my friend (the judge) tell me he liked mine and ask me for the recipe … well, that’s all the validation I needed.
I have to be honest: This isn’t dump-a-bunch-of-cans-into-a-pot, bam-you’re-done chili. It takes a bit of time and effort, but my version has also gotten raves at a local half-marathon held in December that Bruce and I used to direct. I’ve had runners tell me it’s better than the canned-and-packaged everything version by another cook.
So go to some trouble for your family. They’re worth it, and you’ll appreciate the difference.
Here’s the version from my other blog, in case you’re interested. That was a modification of a chef’s recipe, and I thought my version was tastier. But since then I’ve tweaked it even more. For instance, I started leaving out the teaspoon of sugar, and it’s none-the-worse, tastewise, and actually better for you (who needs added sugar?). Also, sometimes I mash half of the black beans – sometimes all of them – because Bruce (having Crohn’s disease) doesn’t always digest things the way the rest of us do. (I’m not even sure the original version includes beans.)
Spicy Turkey Chili
I used to make this every Saturday during football season. If you need a cold-weather bowl of yumminess, this fits the bill. Serve with or without crackers or cornbread, shredded cheese, Greek yogurt (a substitute for sour cream) and chopped scallions.
As I write this on Christmas morning, it’s warmish and humid in north-central Arkansas. And on Christmas Day, no one is thinking of big bowls of hearty soup, right?
But I made my mom’s Vegetable Beef Soup recipe many times over the summer, and it saved me from caving in to fast food or otherwise unhealthy food temptations. Maybe you’d like to have this one handy for the post-holiday hangover – something you can dump in a pot and forget for a while. Or hold onto the recipe for a busy workweek. (Tip: Cook the meat in advance and freeze it. The cooked soup freezes well, too.)
I first posted the recipe on my other blog, Suzy & Spice, but I had a request for it this morning and thought I’d share it here, too. After all, this is the space where you come for stuff that’s good for you and pleasant, amen?
As I wrote at Suzy & Spice last year:
One of the great things about my mom is that she has always gone out of her way to give her kids everything we needed and much of what we wanted (within reason). (I guess that’s a mom’s job, right?)
One of those ways is with food …
So here’s the recipe from my mom, Dorothy (aka Dort), totally customizable to your and your family’s tastes. I originally cooked it on the stovetop like Mom does, but when I got my programmable slow cooker a couple of years ago, that was a game changer.
Dort’s Vegetable Beef Soup
My mom shows her love by feeding us. She has made this hearty and healthful vegetable beef soup for years, so I named it after her!
Crumble ground round in skillet. Add onion, and cook until meat is browned. Drain, then add garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Transfer to large soup pot or slow cooker. Add tomato juice and vegetables.
Cover and cook 3-4 hours on low heat if using stovetop, or 7-8 hours on low setting in slow cooker, stirring occasionally.
Bag of mixed vegetables instead of bag of corn.
Red potatoes (cubed) or new potatoes (halved).
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