Monday, January 29, 2007

Smoked Turkey Chili

  • 4 smoked turkey legs
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 large can of puréed tomatoes (28 ounces)
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce (14 ounces)
  • 2 cans of kidney beans (15 ounces)
  • 1/2 of a beer or 3/4 ounces of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons of honey or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder

The problem with just substituting ground turkey for ground beef in most chili recipes is that turkey doesn't have the same rich flavor that beef does. Which means that the chili just ends up a bit bland. By substituting meat from smoked turkey legs (which you can either smoke yourself or find at the grocery already smoked) you add back some hearty flavor while still cutting down on fat content. The addition of more spices and herbs will also help carry the flavor over to this healthier version of chili.

Remove the skin from the turkey and discard (while it is flavorful, it is high in fat). Chop the meat and discard any bits of bone or cartilage. Place a dutch oven or large skillet over medium high heat and add the bell pepper, onion and olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the bell pepper is soft. Add the garlic to the skillet and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes, or just until you can start to smell it. If you plan on cooking this in your slow cooker, you can now turn your cooker on and add the contents of your skillet. If you're cooking this in the dutch oven on your stovetop, lower the heat to medium low.

Add the tomato products and stir. Open the cans of kidney beans and drain and rinse them. Add them and all the other ingredients in the cooking vessel. Stir to combine, cover and let cook. If cooking in the slow-cooker, your chili will be done in about 2 hours if cooked on high, or 4 hours if cooked on low. If cooking on the stove, it will be done in 1 1/2 hours over medium low or 2 1/2 hours over low.

It's even better to make the chili the day before and store it in the friedge to be warmed up the next day. To cool it quickly, place ice from several trays in your sink. Fill your storage container or containers with chili, then nestle them into the ice and then add water until at least 1/2 but no more than 3/4 of the dishes are underwater. Let them rest until the ice melts and stir the chili occasionally to cool it evenly. Once it's cool to the touch you can cover them and place them in your refrigerator. The next day, pour the chili back into your slow-cooker or dutch oven and cook on low for 30 minutes to an hour or until it's steaming and warmed through. The flavor will be significantly better, and you'll be able to taste it to determine if you need to adjust the spices or add salt or sugar.
Serves 8-12.

Thanks to Gapers Block

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