Chilly weather? Chili weather!

Happy Thursday everybody!  With the winter months officially closing in on us (I’ve reluctantly broken out my heavy coats and scarves, and am mourning the loss of the sun after 5 pm now) comfort food season has also arrived.  Soups, stews, hearty dishes to keep your body and heart warm while it snows rains non-stop…we’re also in the middle of American football season (PS dear Baltimore Ravens, please stop breaking my heart I can’t take it anymore), and while thinking up an easy and cosy meal for last night I was inspired by my mom’s go-to NFL watching recipe: turkey chili. 

This chili is delicious, like lick-the-bowl-and-pot-clean good, and when served with garlic-seasoned baguettes you really can’t beat it for a fuss free meal.  It’s got the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, with corn balancing out the cumin and cayenne, and even if you usually find turkey mince (ground turkey, for those of you stateside) a bit bland for your liking, I promise the flavour combos in this bowl of joy will give your tastebuds the warm, spicy, savoury sensations they’ve been craving.  Of course you’re welcome to swap out the turkey mince for any mince of your choosing—we’ve also made it with beef mince, and I’d be curious to see how a vegetarian version tastes—but the recipe I’ve listed below is the way I learned it.  And an added bonus? The veggies mixed in give you a nice little boost of vitamins A, B6, and C, perfect for helping your immune system out when those colds start getting passed around school or the office.

I’m also going to try something new, and include the nutritional breakdown of my recipes in these posts from now on.  With some recent health annoyances, I have found myself even more rigorously tracking my fat/carb/protein intake, and I figure this will be helpful whether you’re tracking your macros or simply want a visual of how healthy (or not…my grandma’s chocolate cake, recipe up soon, is divine but not diet-friendly) whatever you’re cooking is.  The fat in this recipe is pretty minimal, while you’ll get a lovely helping of protein.  The major carb hit in this recipe is the kidney beans, so if you want some beans mixed in but are trying to keep your carb intake a bit lower you can use a smaller can, say a 220g can instead of the 400g can I list.  Watching your sugar?  Swap out the sweet corn for equally savoury options such as diced carrots or a greater variety of bell peppers.  Whatever your dietary restrictions, you don’t have to sacrifice flavour with this recipe—I promise!

Let me know how y’all like the new formatting, and if you’ve got any tips or feedback on the recipe drop a comment below!  Without further ado, let’s get cooking.  You’ll need:

  • One large skillet or pot (see paragraph below), heated to medium-high heat
  • 500g turkey mince
  • One bell pepper, sliced or diced
  • One 400g tin of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (so really about 250g of beans?)
  • One 400g tin of diced tomatoes, or dice them yourself.  In this case I’d recommend adding a bit of tomato sauce or vegetable stock to add some more liquids
  • One 200g tin of sweet corn or, 200g of corn cooked and removed from the cob
  • One half white or brown onion, diced
  • One garlic clove, minced
  • Spices: paprika (smoked or regular), cumin, cayenne chili pepper, salt, pepper
  • Optional: toppings, such as diced cherry tomatoes, shredded lettuce, soured cream, Greek yogurt, or grated cheese

First thing’s first, get your skillet/pot nice and hot.  I usually use a large non-stick pan with higher sides, to give a wider heated base without risking spillage onto the stovetop (or as they say in Scotland, the hob).  If you choose not to go with non-stick, a quick spritz of non-stick spray is a good idea!  While this is heating prepare your spice mix, blending all ingredients in a small ramekin or bowl.  The amount of spice will vary to your taste, but if you’re making chili with turkey mince I’d highly recommend adding a bit more seasoning!  Whatever the actual amount you decide to use, my ratio of spices is below:

3 parts paprika—2 parts cumin—2 parts cayenne chili pepper—1 part salt—1 part pepper

*If I don’t have fresh garlic on hand, or just want a bit of an extra flavour punch, I’ll toss some garlic powder in there as well.  The best part of chili recipes (aside from how easy they are to throw together) is, in my opinion, the versatility you have with your seasoning options!  If you’ve got an award-winning seasoning mix use that, or if you want to pull inspirations from different cuisines go ahead…the world is your oyster chili bowl!

After the skillet has heated up toss your mince in and sprinkle half the seasoning mixture overtop, breaking up the mince and to incorporate the seasoning.  Continue browning until no raw mince is showing, adding seasoning as you go until all seasoning has been used.

chili veg.jpg

Next up, add the diced tomatoes and kidney beans, mixing into the mince.  Turn the stove to medium-low and let these simmer for about 5 minutes, then add your diced onion and minced garlic.  Stir and let simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After the onions have softened toss in the sweet corn and bell pepper and, again, stir occasionally.  Eventually you’ll know how much seasoning you want, but if this is your first time cooking with turkey mince it’s worth testing a small piece to ensure it’s sufficiently spiced.  Take a teaspoon and try, or give it to your resident friend/family member/significant other, anybody with very strict seasoning standards.

chili mixed.jpg

Once the sweet corn and bell pepper have simmered for 5-7 minutes whip some bowls out, pull out any bread/baguettes/other goodness you may have decided to add to your meal, and dish your chili out!  I will definitely say that while this recipe is amazing on its own and the combination of flavours is complex enough to satisfy any palate, toasting a baguette or adding a few tortilla chips to a side dish certainly wouldn’t hurt (and let’s be honest NFL watchers, I know you all have some form of game day munchie stashed away!).  Top with shredded lettuce, a dollop of soured cream or Greek yogurt, or a bit of grated cheese if you’d like, but most of all, enjoy!

chili bowl.jpg

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*As stated above, if you wish to reduce your carbohydrate intake simply substitute lower starch vegetables for the ones listed in the original recipe.  I always include some kidney beans, but you could easily use a half can or omit them if you prefer.  My favourite alternative veggies include: carrots, more bell peppers, green beans (I cut them in half), or cubed eggplant/aubergine.

Printable recipe:

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-15-39-17

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