Turkey Chili

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It took me a while to learn to appreciate chili, as I had never eaten anything like it when I was growing up. I remember making chili for the very first time a few years back and I had to ask my husband to taste it for seasonings because I had no idea then what chili is supposed to taste like. :) That seems like eons ago. Now, I do occasionally make chili and below is my favorite chili recipe, which comes from The Best of Fine Cooking: 101 Quick & Delicious Recipes (Fall 2003).

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Yields 7 cups; serves four to six.

3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
8 oz. button mushrooms (about ten medium-small)
2 cloves garlic
1 fresh jalapeño
2½ Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
⅛ to ¼ tsp. cayenne; more to taste
1½ tsp. coarse salt; more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground turkey
1 can (29 oz.) tomato purée
1 can (14½ oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (15½ oz.) small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 to 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

  1. In a medium Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until they’re just limp and some of the edges are browned, about 7 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic cloves and jalapeño. When the onion mixture is ready, add the mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until tender and light brown on the edges, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir until well blended and fragrant, about 1 minute. Loosely break apart the ground turkey and add it to the pot. Gently stir until slightly more separated (don’t stir too much or the chili will be mealy) and coated with the other ingredients.
  4. Stir in the tomato purée and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low or low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in the drained white beans and the balsamic vinegar. Taste and add more cayenne, salt, and pepper or another 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate for up to two days.
Note: We usually wait about an hour (to let all the flavors in the chili meld together) before serving. We eat our chili garnished with sour cream or low-fat yogurt and shredded cheddar cheese.
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