Chili is one of my favorite things to make; whether for big dinner parties or just a pot for myself that I stretch out over a week, or freeze and reheat on a cold winter night. Everyone has their own way of making chili, but I like mine to be lean, spicy and with a variety of beans. This recipe was passed down to me from my mother, and we’ve both made some changes to it over the years. She likes to use chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (which I recommend for a super spicy chili) but I like to use a hot sauce to kick it up. I’ve always used turkey, but have also added some various other lean meats in the past, such as ground pork or bison. And all the beans I buy are low-sodium because I like to add my own salt. I love the way the chili fills the house with savory smells as I let it simmer on the stove for hours, and it’s even better when reheated!
Lean Three Bean Chili (serves 8)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/4 lbs lean ground turkey
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp habenero hot sauce
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 TB tomato paste
- 1 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed, drained
- 1 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
- 1 15-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed, drained
- shredded Mexican blend, greek yogurt, and scallions for toppings
In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and sauté for ten minutes, or until browned. Add the cumin and oregano and raise the heat to medium-high, stirring for another minute. Add the ground turkey and pork and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon.
Stir in the chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the hot sauce, canned tomatoes and their juices and the chicken broth; bring to a boil then lower to simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes to two hours, then taste for seasoning.
Remove the bay leaves and add the beans, stirring to combine. Continue simmering for 15-30 minutes. Ladle into serving bowls and top with greek yogurt, shredded cheese and scallions.
I love how chunky this chili is, especially with the big pieces of whole tomatoes. Chili goes great with big, flavorful red wines like Zinfandel and Petit Sirah. You could also serve it with a chilled Rosé of Cabernet or Tempranillo. Now if you will excuse me, I need to warm up some chili for lunch!