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Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

What are you going to do will all that leftover turkey?

Turkey Chili recipe for after thanksgiving by SeasonWithSpice.com

Even though it is still a few days until Thanksgiving and right now the turkey is solid in the freezer, you know by Black Friday, your refrigerator will be stuffed with leftover turkey.

With a weekend of football ahead - where three meals a day are replaced with meals between kickoffs – food must be ready at all times; easily scooped from the slow cooker; easily scooped in your mouth while you’re sitting on the couch.

That could only mean - Turkey Chili.

Turkey Chili recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Chili is not just a delicious way to finish the leftover turkey, but also a great way to use up a few other items in your kitchen.  The items in your kitchen that have probably been there the longest.  I think you know where I’m going with this.

The ground spices & herbs in your cupboard or refrigerator generally have a shelf life of two years, but every kitchen has at least one bottle of spice with the label so faded – the spice so faded – you’re not even sure what it is (was).

The best way to prevent that from happening every year, is to make sure to clear those spices out once a year.  Since we’re reaching the end of 2011, that time is now.  And no dish welcomes a variety of spices like chili.

Homemade chili seasoning spices cumin, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, basil, oregano, allspice

Chili powder or chili seasoning, generally consists of cayenne, cumin, oregano, garlic, and salt.  But let that be your starting point only.  Grab a few more spices and stir them in a little at a time.  Chili is forgiving to anyone experimenting with their own spice blend.

Turkey Chili recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

buy chili seasoning blend online at season with spice shop

Turkey Chili (or Chicken Chili) recipe with all fresh ingredients 
by Season with Spice
Serves 4

What you’ll need:
1 lb of turkey or chicken – cooked and shredded
1 cup dried kidney beans - cooked until soft*
1 cup dried black beans - cooked until soft*
5 medium sized tomatoes – chopped
1 fresh red serrano chili pepper - seeds removed and sliced (optional)
1 white onion – chopped
5 cloves garlic – diced
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp butter (optional)
Cilantro for garnish

Chili Seasoning:
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder

Process:
1. Stir-fry garlic and onion until lightly browned. Set aside.
2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to chili seasoning ingredients to form a paste. Set aside.
3. Mash a third of the beans with a fork (to thicken the chili).
4. Turn on slow cooker and set to low. Add in two cups of water, garlic & onion, tomatoes, chili pepper, cooked (softened) beans, and cooked turkey or chicken. Last, stir in chili seasoning paste. Add more water if needed.
5. Simmer on low for a few hours for the flavors to infuse and for the chili to thicken.  When thickened, stir in lime juice, sugar, salt, and butter.  Garnish each bowl of chili with cilantro and cheese.
6. Only can required for this chili recipe? A beer can to wash it down.  Enjoy!

*How to cook dried kidney and black beans:

1. Rinse two cups of beans, and then add to slow cooker, along with six cups of hot water. Discard any beans that float. Cover pot and let sit overnight (do not turn slow cooker on).
2. In the morning, drain the water, and replace with six more cups of water. Turn slow cooker on high, cover, and let boil for a few hours until beans are softened (cooking times will vary). Add water every hour, to keep the water level the same.

Notes:
- For a quick soak, boil beans for five minutes, and then set aside to soak for 1-2 hours. However, it is still best to soak overnight to reduce cooking time, and to ensure the beans cook evenly.
- If you do not have a slow cooker, you can cook the beans on the stove. 
- Do not consume any uncooked or undercooked kidney beans because of a naturally occurring toxin in the bean.  The toxin is destroyed when the kidney bean is fully cooked.  

How to soak and cook kidney beans and black beans for chili recipes
Kidney beans and black beans: after soaking overnight (left), before soaking (right)