Each summer where we live their is a yearly "cook off Chili Fest". I have always wondered at this, because for me, I think of a piping hot bowl of chili for these cold winter nights. Unless we had a huge crowd to feed or a potluck in the summer, that is the only time I would have made chili in the summer months. Well, actually, it has been ages since I made a pot of chili, but thought this might be another recipe for my daughter's repertoire.
One of the key things I have learned in making chili, is to simmer long and slow. And although traditionally made with beef, I always like the flavor of ground turkey. Often I will serve over a bed of brown rice, but decided to serve this with baked Hubbard squash instead. It turned out to be a really good accompaniment.
1 lb. ground Turkey
1 large diced onion
7-8 minced garlic cloves
1/2 of a large diced green pepper
2 diced celery stalks
4 Tblsp. Chili powder (my chili is mild, we are wimps when it comes to heat)
2 tsp. ground Cumin
salt and pepper to taste (if you want more heat use Cayenne Pepper or Chipotle chili pepper)
one 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes - I cut up the tomatoes, or just used a can of diced
3 Tblsp. tomato paste
one 14 oz. can drained Pinto beans (I did not rinse and used some of the liquid)
1/2 cup minced Cilantro (I love Cilantro, if you don't omit or use less)
grated Cheddar Cheese
Heat up a dutch oven or large pot on medium heat, with a good drizzle of Olive Oil. Add in the ground Turkey, breaking up with a wooden spoon, season with salt and pepper. Brown the meat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Add in another drizzle of olive oil to the pan, and add the onions, celery, and green pepper. Season with salt and pepper. I turned the heat down a bit, sauteing until the onions are translucent. Then add in the minced garlic, stirring until fragrant. Return the meat to the pan, adding the chili powder, and cumin, sauteing another 3-4 minutes.
Pour in the can of tomatoes and liquid, tomato paste, stirring to combine. Bring to a low simmer, cover, and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
After 1 1/2 hours, add in the pinto beans, stirring to combine. Keep the lid off at this point, and continue to lightly simmer for another 1 - 1 1/2 hours until thickened.
Adjust seasonings, remove from heat, add in the Cilantro, stirring to combine. Serve hot with grated cheese on top.