As we get ready to welcome Baby M. I’m thinking more and more about how I can put my crockpot to use this winter. I have no illusions that my maternity leave will allow me oodles of time to really get back in the kitchen and play. I’m hoping for some of that, but I’m trying to be realistic as well. The following chili recipe is one of my crockpot staples. It’s nothing fancy (though it does have a surprise ingredient or two), but it gets the job done for a basic, hearty, and healthy chili recipe that can be easily multiplied to feed a crowd.
Meg’s Red Turkey Chili
Based on Betty Crocker’s Family-Favorite Chili
1 Lb (approx) lean ground turkey
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 grated carrot (optional, I add if I have it to amp up the veggies)
2-4 cloves crushed garlic (to taste, I use 1 heaping tsp of jarred)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15 oz can plain tomato sauce (you can also puree another can of diced tomatoes)
2 Tb chili powder (about a palm full if you’re eyeballing)
1-2Tb ground cumin (again, you can eyeball)
1 Tb cocoa powder (secret ingredient! don’t skip it!)
1 Tb apple cider vinegar (another secret ingredient)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of hot sauce (optional if you like it spicier)
1 15 oz can pinto or kidney beans (whatever you have on hand)
For topping: shredded cheese, sour cream or plain greek yogurt
Brown your meat in a skillet (we use turkey but you could easily use beef and just drain the grease before adding it to the crockpot). Meanwhile, dice your onions and add them to the crockpot. I then add the meat before the other ingredients so that the warmth of the cooked meat starts to soften my onions. Then add everything up to the s&p. Give it a good stir, pop the lid on and walk away. I typically do this on Low for 6 hours, but you could speed things up and do it on High for 4. No need to babysit it, but if you are home I’d recommend a stir every now and then (just for an excuse to take the lid off and smell deliciousness!).
At the end of cooking, add your beans and stir through. Cook on low for another 20-30 mins so the beans have time to warm. You can add the hot sauce at this point, or you can leave the hot sauce as a condiment/topper. Serve it up, top with some cheese and greek yogurt, and enjoy! I like to serve this with homemade drop biscuits or bread. This typically serves 4-6 depending on your portion size. We can get dinner and a lunch or two. Again, easily multiplied if you want to make a big batch and very forgiving if you want to play with the ingredients. Also freezes very well.
Herb note: Cumin is a dried seed from a member of the parsley family. I always use it in chili recipes because it adds a depth of flavor, but it’s also common in my Mexican dishes. It’s a staple in my homemade taco seasoning and I always have some in my pantry.
[Cook often and eat well!]