Chilly Day Turkey Chili

Old Man Winter came knocking on my door, my friends, and his fierce chilly breath has blown out all the colors (if there were any) of drab lifeless winter and blanketed us with the most awe-inspiring, cuddle-inducing, heart-palpitating, toe-curling flurry of snow, snow, snow!  It has snowed a few times since I moved to Maryland, but tonight is the first truly mesmerizing descent of snowflakes I have as yet seen here.  So captivating that all I have been chanting to myself is “snow snow snow snow snow” which oddly led me to the nursery rhyme about it raining and pouring which then left me pondering over the strange lyrics (how exactly does one bump his head WHILST in bed, pray tell?).  Suffice it to say, Alya was befuddled.

But she was not so bewildered over what to make for dinner, thankfully.  It was rather quick a decision, to be honest.  Shall we refer to our checklist?  Cold night? Check.  Warm food a must? Check.  Black beans in pantry? Check.  Tomatoes? Check.  Ground meat (turkey)? Check.  Cheese?  Check.  A desire for a one-pot meal? Check.  Ready to jump at the chance to make a silly pun out of food choice?  Always check!

Ah, the answer is simple, is it not?  What could be more fitting than a dish that wallops you with warmth, satisfaction, and a zillion other forms of goodliness?  And so, let us journey, you and I, through frosted trees and snow-stung skies, into the caverns of my pantry, only to emerge with Turkey Chili!  For what could be more befitting of a frostbit night, than a “chilly” feast for our famished appetites!


  • 1 lb ground lean turkey breast
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes (regular is fine too)
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • 1-2 chilies, seeded and sliced (I used one Serrano and one habanero!!!!)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • (as always the spices get piled in as the dish progresses, but let’s say we start with: )
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • Dash o’ Turmeric
  • ½ tsp dried Oregano
  • Sprinklings of ground Cloves
  • Various toppings: Shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, breadsticks, crumbled tortilla chips, chopped green onions, etc

Oh, this was so easy you could make it while on the phone with one of your best buds whom you haven’t spoken to in weeks and weeks and weeks!  And so, I dedicate this venture to Lammy—I invited you over to enjoy this but sadly you refused (being 3000 miles away is a poor excuse!).  For now, I indulge with Gman.

So, first, in a large pot, pour a few tbsp of oil and toss in the onions, sautéing them on medium-low heat.  After 2 minutes or so, add the garlic and let them all simmer away together, making sure to keep an eye so nothing gets too frisky and things start heating up between your onions and garlic (don’t let them burn).

Soon add the ground turkey (or chicken or beef if you prefer—turkey is exceptionally lean and not a strong meat at all, so it is super food for the husband’s bloodhound nose), mixing it so all gets fried and cooked through.  Chop it up with your spoon too, you don’t want large chunks (unless of course you do).

At this point thrown in the chopped chilies of choice, and the starting ground of all your spices.  Reality is you will inevitably add more cumin or salt or what have you, such is life. *A note on the chilies: my mama taught me that along with deseeding your serranos et al., rinse them or better yet, let them sit in cold water for a few minutes to numb down the heat.  You know I did just that with the habanero, which was chopping my throat to pieces the moment I sliced it open. Yowzers!*

Anyhoo, mix all the spices in so they are thoroughly incorporated in the turkey, and then add the beans (drained) and tomatoes (not necessary to drain—if you do drain them, you’ll just have to add water to the pot).

Stir your bubbly pot (feel free to chant “bubble bubble, toil and trouble…” so long as you only wish ill upon the cold that threatens your windows outside) and in a few minutes you are done!

It’s not the “chili-est” of chilis, as I did not use tomato paste nor make a thick sauce per se, but it has all the essentials, and who can argue with a heaping bowl topped with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese??  Oh what a “Chili” night indeed!  Take that, 3o degree weather!  Alya won this battle!

…If only someone could dig my car out tomorrow morning though.


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