I am so tired of turkey. Tired of smelling it, cleaning up after it, and certainly eating it. I still had a large platter of turkey in the fridge a week after Thanksgiving. I might pick at the dark meat, but that dry, sad breast was dead to me. A traditional turkey chili recipe that looked absolutely delicious inspired me to attempt chili with precooked turkey breast. My kids love chili and I hoped a quick sauté in olive oil and onion, along with the tomatoes, would make the turkey delicious again.
The result was very good. Truthfully, after I added the tomatoes to the meat and onion, I was horrified at the appearance. We aren't far out from a family-wide bout of the flu and the chili resembled the business end of the sick bowl. If I had tomato paste, I would have added it for aesthetics. But, once the tomatoes and spices cooked down, it didn't look quite so creamy and weird. It tasted wonderful and not at all reminiscent of Thanksgiving dinner. Thank God.
Leftover Turkey Chili
- About 1 lb. of turkey breast, pulsed 20 times into crumbles in a food processor.
- 1/8 cup olive oil (don't skimp, you want to add fat back into that dry turkey)
- 2 onions, quartered and then sliced in food processor
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- paprika (you can omit, but I add it because it has a bright red, lovely color)
- chili powder
- 2 28 oz. jars of tomato (you can use cans if you don't have home-jarred ones, of course)
- a jar of roasted piquillo peppers (normally I would use raw bell pepper and sauté with onions, but I didn't have one, and this was very tasty)
- 2 cans of beans, drained (pinto, black, kidney, whatever)
Heat oil in a dutch oven or large pot. Soften onions and garlic over low heat. Add a few more glugs of olive oil then add turkey crumbles. Mix everything and then add 1 T. each of cumin, paprika and chili powder, and 10 grinds of pepper (1 tsp. approx.). Cook for 5 min, stirring occasionally. Add a large pinch of salt.
Add two jars or cans of diced tomatoes and all their juices. If you have tomato paste, add 2-3 T. just to avoid the weird, creamy appearance. Drain piquilllo peppers, and dice. Add to pot. Drain 2 cans of beans and add to pot.
When I make any kind of chili, I season twice. Once in the hot oil and onion mix, and once after all of the ingredients have been added. I think this makes for good depth of flavor. At this point, add 1 T each of cumin, paprika and chili powder, a few grinds of pepper and salt to taste.
Simmer for 30 min. to let the flavors meld. When I make chili from raw ground beef or turkey, I brown the meat to death, add all the ingredients and then cook for hours. Here, since the meat was already cooked, I was afraid too long on the stove would turn it into a turkey chili paste. Gross. But if you're brave, try cooking it longer.