Sympathy Chili

First of all, I'm really sorry its snowing. You and I know its April, but according to the sad posts on my Facebook feed, in the midwest, its looking more like February. Are you tired of soups and stews? Here's a classic comfort food recipe with, maybe, enough of a twist to reignite your enthusiasm for the white stuff. No? To help you maintain your sanity then.

The Twist:

I'd never heard of Ranch Style Brand BeansⓇ until I'd moved to Texas. My Aunt, a 1960's Texas transplant, insisted I add some to my first pot of non-vegetarian chili. Now, I use turkey, as ground beef still skeeves me out, but the Ranch BeansⓇ contain a healthy dose of rendered beef fat, which will add a nice depth of flavor to your chili.

A word of advice, seriously, don't taste the beans on their own, as they are weird, and sour, and gross. But they do make delicious chili.

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, "All-American Beef Chili", changed slightly for Texas flavor, lightened up with turkey, and Dear Lord, don't use a dutch oven to cook chili unless your enjoy scraping up the resulting chili massacre.

Yield: 8 servings, 5 freestyle™ points per serving


2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 sweet onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 C. chili powder (I like good ol' McCormick's)
3/4 Tablespoon cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne (you could use a lot more. I don't like my chili hot-spicy. My husband would thank you)
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground turkey breast
2 15 oz cans of Ranch StyleⓇ brand beans
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
1 28 oz can tomato puree

1. In a stock pot, heat oil on high, until shimmering, turn to medium. Add onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and salt.  Sauté until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes.

2. Add the turkey and cook, breaking turkey into chunks as you go. Now, ground turkey breast is very low in fat, so it can stick and burn in a hot second. If this is happening, drizzle in a bit of the juice from your diced tomatoes to deglaze. The turkey takes between eight and ten minutes to cook. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, around 30 seconds.

3. Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, and tomato puree. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes stirring every 5-15 minutes, depending on how well your pot distributes heat.

4. Uncover and cook for another 45 minutes, stirring every 5-15 minutes.

This stuff will last for ever in the freezer (well, I can personally vouch for six months). Serve with crackers, cornbread, or whatever you eat with chili, including spaghetti, you Ohio Valley weirdos.


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