I’m dreaming of warm California weather today. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re on day number ‘I’ve lost count’ of clouds & rain while my friends to the East are getting the snow storm of a lifetime. Back in November, my husband and I spent an amazing week touring around southern California, which of course included a day at Disneyland. Walking around the park there were a lot of great food choices but I took note of all the people eating hot chili in what we would consider summer weather. Everyone else was bundled in warm jackets and pants while we were sweating in t-shirts and shorts! We may also have been sweating from the 30,000 steps we took while running around the park trying to avoid the line-ups, but either way our definition of cold is clearly very different.
For me, chili is the ultimate winter food and is perfect for feeding a large group of people – say for an upcoming Super Bowl party? (or my bottomless-stomached husband). I like to make a big batch of chili when having friends over – once the chopping is done it becomes pretty hands-off as it cooks, allowing you to be with your guests rather than in the kitchen. Then your guests or family members can create their own chili bowls by customizing the toppings. You can also make chili a day or so in advance which is why this recipe has a permanent spot on my make-ahead dinner list.
I’ve been playing around with this recipe for some years now, mixing different types of beans and vegetables and have finally found the perfect combination. Kale is the surprising ingredient in this chili, but I love how it stands up well to the long cooking time and also I’m happy whenever I can get something green into a meal. If you want to make this chili vegetarian, which I often do, simply omit the ground turkey and add a second can of beans.
Hope you all are managing to stay warm. Me, I’ve got a belly full of this chili!
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeños, seeds removed and finely diced
- 10-12 button mushrooms, sliced (4 cups or ~8 oz)
- 1 796ml can diced tomatoes, including the liquid
- 1 796ml can crushed tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini, diced (2 cups)
- 2 cups of frozen corn kernels
- 1 540ml can of black beans, rinsed
- 1 bunch of kale, middle stem removed and leaves chopped.
- 2 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a 5-quart dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink, ~5-7 minutes.
- To the turkey add diced onions, garlic, and jalapeños. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions begin to soften.
- Turn down the heat to medium and add the spices. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, cooking the spices in the oil will develop a deeper flavour and take away the raw spice taste.
- Next add the mushrooms, diced and crushed tomatoes. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Add zucchini, black beans, corn, and kale. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning to taste and continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. At this point you can cover the chili and turn heat to low and keep cooking for up to a few hours - the longer it cooks the more flavour you will develop.
- Experiment with different toppings: green onions, cilantro, grated cheese, avocado/guacamole, sour cream, diced fresh tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, hot sauce, tortilla chips, cornbread....let your imagination run wild!