While I’m eagerly anticipating the earliest signs of spring, I’m hanging onto my winter recipes knowing it will be a while before I pull out my crock pot and soup-utensils. There’s something so cozy and wholesome about enjoying a homemade cup of chili while warming up near the fireplace. It’s just one of the many sliver linings within these long winter days for me.
One of the reasons I love soups and chili is the duration of its shelf life. Simmering meat in broth and tomato juice allows it to be enjoyed for days without compromising taste or texture. The variations on this American staple are so abundant. Traditionally, chili incorporates various types of beans, corn and chop meat combined with a few diced peppers and onions, but being the veggie lover I am, my chili is a majority of low carb vegetables combined with lean protein and only one can of beans. I make my own spice combo and the subtle hint of cinnamon turns this into a surprisingly delicious recipe! Instead of cornbread, cheese and sour cream, all of which are all delicious additions to a cup of chili, even I will admit that, I opt to use sliced avocado and fresh squeezed lime. I also love the balance of a warming bowl with an arugula salad tossed with shaved Parmesan, lemon and olive oil.
If you’ve been reading these monthly articles (North Caldwell Magazine) or following along on social media, you will realize how much my cooking and coaching emphasizes clean, anti-inflammatory ingredients. I believe that we are conditioned to eat a certain way based on our upbringing, our culture, and the foods that are marketed to us. And unfortunately, the reality is that the majority of foods that make up the Standard American Diet (SAD diet) are at the bottom of the nutrient density line. Foods like processed breads and sweets, vegetable and corn oils, full-fat dairy and red meat. The foods that have been associated with greater health, higher energy and balanced immunity are those found in plants, especially vegetables, beans, fruits and healthy fats. While every person has a diet that suits them best, generally speaking, we need to eat more whole foods and lean protein.
My hope is to change the paradigm so that caretakers are prepared and motivated to make an effort to crowd out with the foods that help us flourish. I hope you enjoy this cup of chili as much as I do!
C’s Turkey-Veggie Chili
· 2 Tbs EVOO
· 1 small white onion, chopped
· 2 bell peppers - red or green pepper chopped
· 3 carrots, diced
· 2 celery, diced
· 1 small pint of mushrooms sliced and halved (stems removed)
· 2 garlic cloves, minced
· 1.5 pounds ground turkey
· 1 can kidney beans, rinsed & drained (optional)
· 2 Tbs. chili powder
· ½ Tbs. cumin
· 1 tsp. dried oregano
· few shakes of cinnamon * optional, but I love this added flavor!
· 1 tsp. sea salt
· 2 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
· 1 cups can lower-sodium chicken broth
· ½ can tomato sauce
· ½ cup water
1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil. When hot, add onions, peppers, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in ground turkey and chop up large chunks using a wooden spoon until meat is crumbly and slightly pink, add mushrooms until folded in well and wilted.
3. Stir in all seasonings, when well combined add remaining liquids.
4. If you are adding beans, add them once pot begins to boil (black and kidney work great, rinse & drain before adding)
5. Allow pot to simmer 20 minutes on med-low heat
6. Serve with guacamole, chopped avocado and fresh lime wedges.