Spicy Turkey Chili

Share this post:

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.

Spicy Turkey Chili
Until I make my Spicy Turkey Chili again, this 2009 photo is the best pic I have!

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.)

 

 

 

Print Recipe
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.
Course Main Dish, Soups
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
a bunch
Ingredients
Course Main Dish, Soups
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
a bunch
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in medium pot with heavy bottom over medium-high heat. Add meat and stir with wooden spoon to break up. Cook, stirring, until meat is browned and cooked through, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Transfer meat to strainer to drain.
  3. Set pot over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, onions, bell peppers and garlic. Cook 6-8 minutes. Return turkey to pot and mix well.
  4. Add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and cook, stirring about 2 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and broth. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes. Taste for flavor and add salt and pepper if needed. Keep warm on stove until ready to serve.
  7. OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: Chopped scallions, cheddar cheese, a dollop of Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), oyster crackers.
Share this Recipe
 
Share this post:

Recipe: Deby’s Teriyaki Marinade

Share this post:

The last time I lived in California (post-bachelor’s degree), I was doing what you might call Livin’ the Dream: I had a great job at a newspaper, an awesome church (with accompanying awesome singles group), a house at the end of a cul-de-sac, a cute patio and a yard with beautiful landscaping. Our house was 45 minutes from the mountains, the desert or the beach, depending on your direction (and what time of day you went).

And my favorite: a swimming pool with an in-ground hot tub at one corner. (Doesn’t everyone in Southern California have an in-ground pool and hot tub?)

grilled teriyaki chicken
No photo for my grilling recipe? No problem. My generous friend Talya to the rescue! Photos courtesy of Talya Tate Boerner of Grace, Grits and Gardening.

I rented from my roommate, Deby, who owned the house and paid other people to maintain the property. (Doesn’t everyone in Southern California have a yard guy and a pool guy?)

Yup. Livin’ the Dream. (Except that my closest family units were 4-5 hours away by car.)

Deby and I had lots of cookouts and swim parties – sometimes with her friends, sometimes with mine, but always lots of fun and lasting until the wee hours of the morning (I was young then; I could do that).

One of my favorite things about Deby, besides her generosity (she pretty much let me do whatever I wanted, as long as I didn’t burn the place down), was that she was a gourmet cook. Financial planner by day, food magician by night.

She made creating delicious recipes seem effortless. (She once took a pot of chili I had left simmering on the stove and, after asking permission, turned it from blah to rah! just by sprinkling in some fairy dust a few spices.)

I experienced many culinary firsts at Deby’s table: I had never heard of cilantro (and now my love for it is limitless), I had never eaten orange roughy; I had never eaten sushi, had never heard of wasabi (no Japanese sushi restaurant has anything on Deby). Artichoke hearts with a creamy dill sauce, yum! And I didn’t have a clue what ceviche was (again, no restaurant can hold a candle). And our refrigerator always – always – housed a dish of fresh garlic butter, which we whipped up ourselves.

I “stole” several recipes from Deby, including the one below, which might embody her motto, and I heartily embrace it:

“Everything is better with garlic.”

(Go ahead. Write that down and tape it to your fridge.)

The first time I experienced her Teriyaki Marinade was when Deby invited me sailing with some friends who owned a sailboat. (Doesn’t everyone in Southern California own a sailboat?) The boat had a little grill, where we plopped down some boneless chicken that had been marinating in the cooler all morning.

salmon teriyaki recipeYou’ll have to experience for yourself how good this is, because I am out of words to describe it. I’ve since tried the marinade with salmon, one Fourth of July a few years ago – why just once? I don’t know! – and I’m sure it would be awesome with shrimp, too.

And, because this is Memorial Day weekend and you have more exciting things to do than listen to someone else wax nostalgic about her Livin’ la Vida SoCal days two decades past, here it is. (Note: I’m presenting it in its original form but have included a couple of healthier substitutions.)

What are you waiting for? Go get your grill on!

Deby, if you should stumble across this post someday, please get in touch. And thank you for everything you taught me about generosity, hospitality and good food.

Print Recipe
Recipe: Deby’s Teriyaki Marinade
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2-20 minutes
Passive Time 4-8 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2-20 minutes
Passive Time 4-8 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until combined.
  2. Place mixture in a sealable bag or airtight dish with 6-8 boneless chicken breasts OR salmon steaks OR 1-2 pounds of shrimp.
  3. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, turning the bag at least once to make sure every surface gets plenty of yummy marinade.
  4. Discard unused marinade or boil it for use as a sauce. (I've never done this, but it seems a shame to waste it.)
Recipe Notes

Serve with a fresh green salad, grilled veggies (why not? the grill is already hot!) or a sweet potato smashed with coconut oil or butter and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Share this Recipe
 
Share this post: