The chill of winter always makes us crave soup. It’s so nice to end the day with some good bread, a green salad, and a bowl of something piping hot. We’ve shared some of our favorite soups with you before, and now we’d like to share the recipe for our chili that has nourished many of our guests at our Chestertown, MD Inn over several winters past.
This is a simple and very forgiving, even malleable, recipe. You can make it with whatever meat you want (beef, turkey, chicken, or a mixture), or you can leave out the meat altogether and simply add more veggies (carrots, celery, different colored bell peppers) and more beans. This will make a particularly colorful chili, especially if you add corn, carrots and different types of beans (black, pinto, kidney). There are, however, 2 particular key ingredients that make either version so good.
If you have a favorite chili powder blend, by all means use it. If not, then we highly recommend something called, I kid you not, Chili 3000 from Penzeys Spices. We discovered it years ago and now it’s one of those items we can’t be without. And by the way, if you aren’t familiar with the Penzeys Catalog, you don’t know what you’re missing. This is one of the very few catalogs that we are actually excited to get at our Chestertown, MD Inn. To see what new blends they’ve come up with, and to check out the tons of recipes submitted by actual users. It’s one of those times when the catalog is actually better – or more fun – than the website.
The second ingredient that’s key is the vegetable juice. Remember that this will be on the salty side, even if you buy the low sodium version, so be sure to let the chili cook down and taste it before you add any salt. Many chili recipes only call for chopped or crushed tomatoes, but the addition of the veggie juice really does give the flavor depth.
Serves 4 to 6 depending on how hungry everybody is.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1-2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
2 cups vegetable juice (V8 type)
2 15 ounce cans chopped tomatoes
1 15 ounce can kidney beans (or your favorite bean, or a mixture of beans)
1 cup frozen corn kernels (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan; add onion and cook over medium heat until it softens and is just beginning to caramelize. Add pepper (and other veggies if using) and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Add ground turkey and mix well. Cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until turkey is no longer pink. Stir in chili powder mixing well and let cook for another 5 minutes before adding all remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and freshly chopped cilantro and parsley.
Add a crackling fire and some fuzzy slippers and what more could you ask for??