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Award-Winning* Turkey OR Vegetarian Chili

Award-Winning* Turkey OR Vegetarian Chili

O. M. G. It’s finally here: SPRING BREAK. I got done with class today at about 7pm after having a majorly ridiculous week. Ridiculous.

First thing I did: poured a glass of wine and got out my spray paint. I am not even coming close to kidding. The warm weather means that I can finally resume my spray painting obsession. And you, my lovely, lucky readers, will soon be rewarded by getting to see what I am spray painting and upholstering (that’s right: I also got out my staple gun. It goes lovely with a Bordeaux.).

In the meantime, while it’s still cool at night, I want to share with you all a very special thing: my chili recipe. This chili is pretty darned awesome. It (almost) won two chili cook-offs. *I know I almost won because my friends were in charge of tallying the votes. I believe I was two votes shy of the title, and suffered due to poor placement in the chili line-up. I ended up right in the middle of the chili line – people’s plates were already full by the time they got to mine. I think I missed out on some chili tasters that way. Sigh.

OK, enough of my whining about how I didn’t win the two chili cook-offs (I was robbed). Now it’s time for me to share this awesome-sauce chili recipe that I invented. It goes equally as well veggie as with turkey (it might actually be even better as a veggie chili recipe). It’s low-fat, but you would never know it, full of vegetables and lots of fiber. Topped with a dollop of sour cream and some diced red onions or jalapenos, it is downright fantabulous!

Recipe Follows:

1 package of firm or extra-firm tofu, frozen for at least one night and then defrosted, OR approx. 1.25 lbs lean ground turkey

1 large onion, diced

2 teaspoons salt

1 and 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 or 4 gloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon roasted chipotle powder (this can be a little tricky to find, but they have it at Mexican grocery stores, and maybe at Whole Foods – it’s worth looking; the smoky zing of this spice is amazing). If you cannot find this, you can substitute with cayenne and chili, to your liking.

2 teaspoons chili powder (if you are scared of spice, start with one, add the other to taste)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 can (32oz) diced tomatoes AND 1 can (16oz) diced tomatoes

2 cans (16oz) black beans

2 cans (16oz) pinto beans

2 cans (16oz) kidney beans

2 cans (16oz) canned corn, no salt added

2 or 3 tablespoons sugar, to taste

Heat one or two tablespoons of oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cook for a few minutes until just starting to turn translucent. Then, if you are making a turkey chili, add the turkey to the pot. While the meat is cooking, add the salt, cinnamon, garlic, chipotle, cumin, chili powder and cayenne. Continue cooking until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Add the diced bell peppers and cook for two minutes. Then add the tomatoes.

If making this a vegetarian chili, let the onions cook until just before they are translucent. Add the bell peppers and cook for two minutes. Add the tomatoes, then add the spices. While the tomatoes are simmering, crumble the once-frozen-now-thawed tofu into the pan. You want the tofu to get into little pieces, and the freezing makes the texture perfect for chili.

Now add all the cans of beans. Once heated through, add the canned corn. Add the sugar to taste. It’s more delicious when it has a hint of sweetness. At this point, you can add more spices to taste. I find I often add a little more cumin and a little more chipotle. Those ones are my favorite. Let heat for another 5 or 10 minutes on low heat to let the flavors meld.

Serve warm, with a dollop of sour cream, and if you like, cheddar cheese and chopped jalapenos.

Makes a lot of servings. Like 7 or 8, plus some for the freezer. It may even be more delicious the second day.

Enjoy!

Love,

Rachel

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