Old Fashioned Chili

Chili is a wonderful dish, as unique as the person making it.  Chili varies by region: Texas chili has no beans; Skyline Cincinnati chili is deeply spiced and also meat based and served over spaghetti  with a pile of cheese on top; New Mexico chili verde is made with pork, tomatillos, and Hatch chilies; and California white chili is made with poultry, white beans, and green chilies.  Even the spelling of chili varies- there is chili, chile, chilly, and chilli. People have chili cook-offs and argue over what kind is the best. I personally make four kinds of chili- this one, white bean chicken chili, black bean and sweet potato chili, and my special occasion steak and chocolate chili, all of which have their own fans.  Chili is a great food to make for a hungry crowd for D&D night, perfect as hot dog (and in my case, french fries) topper, nachos if you want (for that I suggest the black bean and sweet potato variety), amazing in a large bowl with homemade cornbread (use the recipe on the back of any good yellow cornmeal container), as a hamburger topper, or even mixed into a cheesy omelet.  And, like a good spaghetti sauce or jambalaya, chili is better two or three days later. In fact, I made chili Wednesday- our plans got cancelled for tonight. I think I sense chili fries in my future.

I am not sure what region this recipe falls under.  Midwest generic chili, maybe? My gran made a version of it, though she included celery and added macaroni and we called it goulash.  My mum makes it, too, without the pasta. I do see a similar recipe in my 20 years old BHG cookbook and I am sure there is one in Gran’s and Mum’s as well, so I am guessing that is where it came from.  Mine is pretty healthy, made with turkey, but it is just as easy to make it with ground beef or pork if you want. It is also versatile, use whatever kind of pepper you like, add or subtract spice, cook it in a dutch oven (enamel only, cast iron and tomato based recipes do not mix) or crock pot, use plain canned tomatoes or the spicy kind for an extra kick.  My measurements are approximate, this chili is more a method than a recipe.


Old Fashioned Chili

2 teaspoons olive oil

1½  pounds ground turkey (aim for the 7 to 9% fat- do not use the 1% fat- that stuff is gross!!!!)

1 medium onion, chopped (purple, yellow, white, sweet Hawaiian, whatever you have on hand or prefer)

2 cloves of garlic, minced (or a head of garlic- whatever floats your boat!)

1 to 2 peppers (green if that is what you like, I prefer orange, red, and yellow), chopped

2 or 3 15 ounce cans of red kidney beans, low sodium, drained

1 28 ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes (do not drain)

1 tablespoon chili powder (take your pick, new mexico, california, chipotle

1 teaspoon (I think, I just add enough till I am happy) ground cumin

A few shakes of cayenne pepper (just enough to give it a little flavour, not enough to get a glare from a 15 year old that hates that kind of spice)

½ teaspoon ground coriander (and please don’t confuse coriander with cardamom, two very different flavours, though I do use cardamom in the steak and chocolate chili)

Salt and pepper to taste


In a dutch oven (or, a medium sized pan if you using a crock pot), heat the oil and add the turkey, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and cook until browned.  If you are using a crock pot, put it in there now. To whichever cooking vessel, add the onions, garlic, peppers and give it a good stir. Then add the beans and the tomatoes,.  Stir it all together and add the spices. If you are using a dutch oven, bring to a simmer, turn to low, cover and cook for at least a half hour. For a crock pot, put on low and cook for three hours (you can cook it all day, if you want, I just do three hours to give it all time to meld).

Serve and enjoy.


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