Monday, February 20, 2012

Lower Carb Turkey Chili

We had a cold, wet weekend in Austin.  When it’s cold, wet, and Masterpiece Classic is airing Downton Abbey, I like to make something that is comforting and filling.  And I make chili.

I think chili is one of those dishes where everyone has their own version.  My dad had his secret recipe (we ate copious amounts of ground elk and antelope), my brother has his (ground mustard?), and I have my version.  This was developed one night a few years ago when I was cooking from The Zone cookbook.  I served it to the husband and he declared the published recipe so bland that “my parents from Minnesota can eat it.”  Oh dear, time to up the ante.

This version may be too spicy or too thick for you (I think chili should be like Bolognese – others like a soupy or stewy consistency), but the technique holds true.  Just ease up on some of the spices or put a lid on the simmering stew to reduce evaporation.  Crushed tomatoes are the costliest component of this dish from a net carbohydrates perspective (one 32-ounce can contains 52 net carbs), so this is not a suitable dinner choice if you are on Atkins Induction.


Lower Carb Turkey Chili (4 hearty servings)

Spice Mixture:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons chili powder (I like chipotle chili powder)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (the freshest you can find)
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt (sea salt is different in intensity than iodized salt or Kosher salt)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bayleaf

Other Ingredients:
1/8 cup fat of choice (I use chicken fat and bacon drippings I store in a jar in the refrigerator)
1 cup roughly chopped onion (about one medium onion)
1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
1 pound ground turkey thighs
1 fat clove garlic, minced
1 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes, organic (it does make a difference)


In a large dutch oven or stock pot, melt the fat over medium-high heat until fully liquid.  Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté for 5-10 minutes or until soft.  Do not let the onions burn.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the spice mixture and cook for 1 minute.

Add the ground turkey to the cooked vegetables and incorporate.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the turkey is no longer pink.  Do not overcook.

Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add the can of tomatoes and stir until incorporated.  Reduce the heat if necessary and simmer for 20-30 minutes uncovered.  If you want a thinner consistency, simmer covered for the same amount of time.  Be sure to check for seasoning after the chili has cooked for at least 20 minutes.

As you know, soups and stews get better they more they sit around to marinate the flavors together.  I prefer to make this meal several hours or even a day before I will serve it. 

Lots of spices mean layered flavor

Follow the "mise en place" rules of preparing spices

The others...

Never use super lean meats; fat is your friend and makes tastier chili!

I just added the turkey - the spice mixture makes everything look dark.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble.

Comfort on a cold evening.


Adrienne Shubin said...

Oh this looks tasty! I like how you added so many spices to it. And I never thought about the addition of mushrooms. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Yum, yum!

Anonymous said...

I love mushrooms: low carb, full of antioxidants, and meaty. I was pretty excited when I saw that mushrooms were part of the salad vegetable category in Atkins! Especially when I can saute them with butter and add some fresh thyme and sea salt. Yum!

Anonymous said...

I finally wrote out the recipe because I had several requests from my husband's birthday dinner last week. I hope no one thinks they need to go and spend $20 on spices to make chili: use what you have, but identify what your core spices are. For me, it's not chili unless it has cumin and chili powder.