As soon as the weather turns chilly outside I instantly turn to a bowl of chili to warm me up on the inside. Sometimes food just has the ability to wrap you up in a warm blanket that soothes the soul doesn’t it? It’s kind of like that old friend that you haven’t seen in a looong time, the one that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and you wonder why you let so much time pass since your last visit. From the moment I bang & clank through the cabinet to find my favorite pot, to the dicing of the onions through the familiar veil of tears (as onions never fail to make me cry), I find myself eagerly awaiting that first piping hot spicy bite. Ooooh the anticipation.
I also find that I adore this delicious dish for its’ versatility. Doesn’t matter if I have ground turkey or beef on hand, a variety of beans or just one kind, chili is as forgiving as that dear old friend.
My personal favorite is turkey black bean chili. It’s hearty, healthy and quick. Here’s how I make it…
I begin by drizzling some olive oil into my favorite pot over a medium flame.
I grab an onion, I had a purple one but any kind will do.
Dice the onion (in my case, through a veil of tears).
Saute the onion until transparent, about 5-6 minutes.
Next, add the ground turkey and cook until the turkey is browned.
And now the time has come for me to introduce you to some other friends of mine that help in making chili a cinch…
…meet canned tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and of course the ever popular chili seasoning packet.
I’m a suburban mom of two who’s on the go and these little ditties make my life easier which makes me happy.
When I’m happy my family is happy…then everyone’s happy and life is good. And harmonious. And did I mention that I’m happy? Good, moving right along…
Sprinkle the chili seasoning packet all over the browned turkey, add a splash of water and stir until the turkey is totally coated in the spicy mixture.
Note – I used the “mild” mix because I like to embellish my chili with other “secret” ingredients.
My first secret ingredient….
Yep, Worcestershire sauce. Does wonders.
After adding tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and a can of rinsed black beans…
I add a few healthy shakes of the Worcestershire sauce. The tangy sweetness cuts the acidity of the tomato sauce and adds a fabulous depth of flavor.
For some kick I like to add Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper.
In my opinion to key to making a great chili is the layering of flavors. A little spicy, a bit of sweet & tangy and a kick at the end of each bite for good measure is always appreciated!
My favorite toppings or embellishments if you will, are sliced green onions,
and shredded cheese.
The crunch of the green onion and the goo of the melted cheese on top of the hearty spicy chili are, well, a spiritual experience.
I’m not sure just what it is about the combination of meat, beans and tomato sauce happily bubbling away in one big pot that makes me feel so at home and cozy, but it does.
I hope it makes you feel that way too!
Now, sit back and enjoy a big bowl of chili and relish in the warm fuzzy feeling of an old friend. Time and time again!