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Correspondence with my Daughter: Chili

February 17, 2012
Dear Mom,
This past Friday, in honor of the Super Bowl, we had a chili contest at work! There was a lot of talk around the office about these crazy spicy recipes and gastrointestinal inducing chili, which I wanted nothing to do with! I wanted to make a mild, good flavored chili. Something classic. I surveyed my fellow cooks (aka, you and Aunt Barb) and procured two recipes to start from. I combined both, and then after a taste test from the husband added some twists of my own (like bacon, duh).
I decided to make the chili a week ahead of time, giving it enough time to meld all the flavors which I think definitely helped. The day of I warmed it up in my little crock pot. I left it warming for most of the morning, and I think I could have just done  an hour because it got a little too hot temperature wise. There were about 10 entries to the contest including mine. After an hour of deliberating by the judges (drumroll please), I was awarded second place! Woo! I even got a little trophy to put on my desk for bragging rights.

In the future I think I am going to try it with turkey, and possibly a little less bacon to make a healthier version.

Comfort Chili ( I can’t think of a good name)

1 tablespoon Olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic minced
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 jalapeno peppers chopped
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
8 oz. hunts tomato sauce
2 cans petite diced tomatoes ( i liked the petite cause they were perfectly bite size)
16 oz can kidney beans
16 oz can chick peas
Couple slices of bacon chopped finely (to taste)
1 can beef or chicken stock
1 beer
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 ancho chili ground
1 chipolte chili ground
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1/2 round of mexican chocolate
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1. In your dutch oven, or big pot, saute garlic, onions, and jalapeno peppers in olive oil until soft.
2. Add the ground beef and pork and cook until brown. Drain any excess fat.
3. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, beans, chick peas, bacon, stock, beer, all spices, unsweetened + mexican chocolate, sugar and salt + pepper.
4. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2 hours.
5. Taste test and add any additional spice or salt. Serve right away or store for a couple of days for optimal flavor!
Love Always,
Dearest Sarah,
CONGRATULATIONS!!  How awesome is that!  The chili sounds delicious and of course is on my ‘to do’ list to make  asap!  The name is perfect, it’s exactly that, comfort food.
Love that trophy!!

I did look in my cookbook archives for a chili recipe with turkey.  I had one and looked it up on the Cooking Light website but they only had one review and it was  mediocre.  So I put turkey chili in the search box and came up with one that I thought was pretty good, with about 40 very good reviews.  I went to the store, got all the ingredients.  But of course as soon as I get home, I think of the Epicurious website.  So I went on there and found a better recipe, with over 300 excellent reviews.  Good thing the ingredients were similar or back to Shoprite (that would have been my fourth visit this week, starting with Tuesday, geez).  Anyway, I like it.  Of course, I did change a few things:  I only used 2 cans of beans instead of 3 and one of the cans was garbanzos peas (I love them!), added sugar and the Chipolte Pepper in Adobe Sauce.  It called for beef stock/broth but I used chicken broth instead.  I wanted to use a different chili powder, like McCormick Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder  but I was afraid.  I do not have the tolerance for that much heat as you and Ian do.  So that could definitely be changed.  Or adding the ground ancho and chipolte chili and the mexican chocolate like your recipe, would be excellent additions. (I need to look for those, somewhere, my supermarkets are not that ethnic).

Turkey Chili with White Beans
(adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons cumin

1-1/2 pounds (24 ounces) lean ground turkey

2-4 tablespoons of chili powder, depending on your heat tolerance

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2, 15.5 ounces of petite diced tomatoes (I like this size too!)

3 cups of chicken broth

1 Chipolte Pepper in Adobe Sauce, finely chopped

1, 8 ounce can of tomato sauce (or homemade)

1, 15.5 ounce can of small white beans, rinsed and drained

1, 15.5 ounce can of garbanzos peas, rinsed and drained

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat.

Add onions and saute until translucent and tender about 10 minutes.

Add oregano and cumin and stir one minute.

Increase heat to medium high and add turkey, stirring until no longer pink, and breaking up with spoon or metal spatula (haha!).

Stir in chili powder, cocoa powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon.

Add tomatoes, broth, Chipolte Pepper and tomato sauce.

Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans to chili and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve with garnishes of your choice:  cheese, onion, fresh cilantro, sour cream, fresh squeezed lime juice and also Cornbread.  This is my super quick Cornbread ‘recipe’:  “Jiffy” corn muffin mix, follow directions on box but then add 1/3 cup sour cream to mixture.  Continue with the mix directions.  I have also read, to add a small can of creamed corn to the batter.  Sounds delish.

Recommend making the chili the day before.  (but we ate it same night and it was very good.) Also can store extra in freezer.

Love always,


Last 10 minutes of simmering:
Ready to eat!:
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