Each fall we have a chili cook-off at work. Last year I came up with what I termed an “Italian Chili” - bacon, ground pork, italian sausage, chili beans, tomatoes, italian spices, and some other yummy ingredients. Our team didn’t win, but I was pretty happy with my recipe and have since made it a couple of times. However, I know it’s not low-cal, so I recently decided to adjust it to make it a little more healthy. I started out by sauteing the onions and garlic in water because I didn’t need the extra oil. I took out the bacon and changed the meat to ground turkey thigh. I also decreased the amount of meat a bit. I used Azuki Beans because that’s what I had on hand and I ended up loving the flavor they added to the dish - they are meaty and taste a bit like a pinto bean which I think worked well with the Italian flavors. I ended up with something that is about 220 cals per serving and I really love the flavor! It’s perfect for fall - warm and cozy and rich. I like to turn mine into a frito pie, but I think it would be good by itself, as a sandwich, or to use with lettuce wraps.
Italian Turkey Chili
Servings: 4-8 (I had 8 servings)
¼ cup Water
1 Onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves Garlic, chopped (1 ½ tablespoons)
2 Tbsp Paprika
2 Bay Leaf
1 ½ tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 ¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
1 pound Ground Turkey Thigh
1 cup Water
1 can Beans, undrained
1 can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (Low Sodium), undrained
4 Tbsp Fine Cornmeal, or masa harina
2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar, or other vinegar
Add ¼ cup of water to dutch oven and heat on high. Once hot, add onion and cook for 3-4 mins. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add paprika, bay leaf, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper, and ground turkey. Cook, stirring occasionally, and breaking up the meat with the side of the spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Stir in water, beans, tomatoes, cornmeal, and vinegar, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens and flavors blend, about 45 minutes. It may be necessary to add a little water to thin the chili. Serve hot, garnished with desired toppings.