One of my favorite things to cook is chili. It’s a delicious, spicy, comfort food and I like to make huge batches and freeze it. I love you so much, reader, that I’m going to share my secret recipe. I hope you enjoy it.
Now before you start sending me death threats, just remember that I put beans in my chili because I’m a Yankee. I have no choice. And I think it’s cray cray to leave them out. But leave them out if you must. Also, I use lean turkey instead of beef because I don’t do a lot of red meat. But use beef if you must. And this is pretty spicy. So cut down on the chili and cayenne if you must. But know that you are ruining this whole recipe (and your life) if you make substitutions.
Here we go.
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 lb 99% fat-free ground turkey
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 yellow squash, finely chopped
- 5 large mushrooms, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 habanero chilis
- 4 TB chili powder
- 1 TB cayenne pepper
- 1 TB onion powder
- 1 TB celery salt
- 1 TB cumin
- 1 TB paprika
- 1 TB oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 15-oz can stewed tomatoes
- 1 can kidney beans
- 4 oz can diced chilis, divided
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook turkey, breaking up into small pieces.
Add the chopped vegetables and cook until soft, 10-15 minutes.
Now add all the spices and habaneros and stir really well.
Next add the chicken stock, the tomatoes and their juices, half the canned chilies, and the beans. Still not sold on the beans? But look how pretty:
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Garnish with onions, cheddar, cilantro, avocado, corn chips, or whatever you want and serve.
I’m going to show you Mr. Betty’s favorite garnish, the cornbread pancake. These are very easy and can be punched up however you like.
Start with a box of corn muffin mix. Add one egg, 3/4 cup milk, and 2 TB melted butter to make pancake batter. Then stir in 1/2 cup grated cheddar and the remaining canned chilis.
Cook pancakes as you normally would, keeping a close eye as the cheddar can easily burn. But cooked slowly, the cheese will brown a little bit and give the pancakes the slightest hint of a crunch. These are incredibly good. Other ideas to punch up the pancake: add a little canned corn, red onion, or finely chopped scallions, a dash of hot sauce or jalapeños.
Serve immediately on top of chili and add anything else you like.
The pancake really elevates the chili to a whole new level. People love to break through the slightly crispy exterior of the pancake to get to the spicy, hearty chili. What’s great about this chili is that it’s not at all heavy or greasy. The lean turkey and tons of veggies keep it light, so you don’t need to feel guilty when you add a little sprinkle of cheese or a delicious pancake.