Tommy’s Turkey Chili

Enter the first contestant in my winter-long personal chili cook-off!

My brother Tommy is going to be a chef when he grows up. He’s already an excellent cook, and he’s got official cridentials too. He’s worked in some pretty swanky restaurants in Denver and went to Florida for some sort of national cooking contest when he was in high school.

But my brother has a few anti-cridentials too. For example, he doesn’t really like vegetables. (“I can work around them!” he says.) And he doesn’t like beans (“they’re just mooshy and get in the way”). Which, unsurprisingly, leads to the correct conclusion that he also doesn’t like chili.

And yet… he does like this chili. I don’t know where he got the recipe, but since it’s the only chili he’s willing to eat and I got the recipe from him, I’m declaring this recipe his. It gets to be the first chili on the menu because it is the simplest of all the chili recipes I have considered so far. Let us begin:

Tommy’s Turkey Chili

1lb ground turkey (beef is also fine)
1 bell pepper, diced small
1  onion, diced small
1-3 habanero peppers (see note)
a couple dashes of Tabasco or Sriracha
3 cloves garlic minced
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
32oz low sodium chicken broth
3 T chili powder
salt/pepper taste
maybe a pinch of sugar

Like so:

I was probably supposed to use a green pepper, but yellow was what I had on hand so I used that. Besides, yellow peppers are way tastier. I also didn’t have any habanero peppers, but since the “note” on that said “I use three habaneros but apparently my spicy capacity is ridiculous…”, I wasn’t too worried. That pepper you see there had been living in my freezer since the last farmer’s market. I don’t even know what sort of pepper it is, but it couldn’t possibly be worse than three habaneros, so I decided to go with it.

Step one: brown the meat and add diced vegetables.

Did you know that ground turkey is really gross to cook with? It’s creepy slimy, and wouldn’t crumble up the way ground beef does. At some point shortly before adding the veggies, I had what looked like turkey meatballs rolling around in my pot. But eventually I got it figured out.

Next: add tomato paste, chili powder, and hot sauce of your choice. No problemo.

Hey, that looks a lot more like chili now!

Final steps: add diced tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, and “simmer for as long as you can stand to not eat… it is much better the longer it sits and the next day is AMAZING!” I was foresightful enough to start cooking at 2:00, so by the time we ate at 7:00, all the flavors were delightfully well melded and yes, it was really very good.

I had not added any sugar or salt initially. I added both and upped the chili powder just a smidge, along with a couple extra shakes of Tabasco to round things out. A handful of cheese and some corn chips made it all just right. It is a very simple recipe without any fancy ingredients, but that’s just what you want some nights. The texture of the turkey was softer than the beef I am used to, but that was rather pleasant too. I like the flavor added by using broth instead of just water. My mystery pepper was also just the right amount of spicy, thank goodness.

Thank you for the recipe Tommy! I dub this chili a success.

Deliciousness: 4
Beauty: 4
Idiot-Proof: 5
Dirty Dishes: 5

Total Score: 4.5


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