Chili was one of the first things I mastered when I moved out on my own. I had made it a few times at home, from a recipe (usually a Canadian Living one). But when I moved out, I started to experiment with different beans, meats and other additions. I sometimes put chickpeas or Romano or pinto beans in in place of the black beans, depending on what is in the cupboard.
Once we had kids, that was when the pumpkin addition came along. When the kids were little, I put pumpkin or pureed squash in just about anything that had a red sauce. It adds a little bit of sweetness, fibre and vegetable and they don’t even notice it!
The green chilies had some southwestern flavour without adding heat (note, don’t buy chopped jalapenos by mistake, the cans are usually side by side on the grocery store shelf.
You can make this easy chili with ground turkey or ground beef. If you are using beef, you could add some garlic to this as well, adding it when you cook the onions and peppers. Using turkey gives the chili a sweeter flavour, and I have found that the garlic doesn’t really belong there.
To save time in the morning, prepare the ground turkey and vegetables the day before and refrigerate until morning, when you are ready to load the slow cooker for the day.
*Note: I used the leftovers today, mixed with grated cheese to make Quesadillas. Wow! Were they ever good! I had 1, 3 and 4 year olds eating beans, zucchini, and peppers, and loving it! “Best lunch you ever made” (to quote a 3 year old) Try it sometime!
Turkey chili for the Slow cooker
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 sweet peppers, diced
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 zucchini quartered and sliced
1 large can (28 oz) no salt diced tomatoes, with juice
1 can unsalted tomato paste
1 small can diced green chilies
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1TBSP Maple syrup
Gentle splash of hot sauce
1 can (14 ounces) kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, rinsed and drained
Garnish or sides: plain Greek yogurt, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno, grated cheese (Montery jack or cheddar
In a large skillet, brown turkey, add onions and peppers and cook until soft. Transfer turkey and vegetables to the slow cooker and add green chiles, zucchini, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, beans and corn, pumpkin, hot sauce and maple syrup. Stir gently to blend ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 5 to 6 hours. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with plain yogurt and a little shredded cheese.