Last night was windy, cold, and rainy here in Maryland, so my first impulse was to make chili. This dish is one of my favorite things to make, especially in the fall and winter, because I can change out the recipe so easily. I’ve made it many different ways, but last night’s was a much healthier rendition that still warmed us up nicely. See if you and your family notice a difference if you try this version!
I started by heating a large stock pot on the stove and dropped in one diced onion with some olive oil. Once the onion was translucent, I added one package of ground turkey and took some time to let it all brown thoroughly. To add a bit of smokiness to the finished product, I added a bit of bacon that I pulled from the freezer and gave that some time to cook. NOTE: I had previously taken a one-pound package of bacon and sliced it into 8 portions. Each portion went into a small freezer bag and I use a portion any time I want a little bacon flavor without having to thaw or cook an entire package. I diced this portion so the bacon wasn’t discernible, but the flavor permeated the chili nicely.
I then added about a cup of diced sweet pepper (as you can see, I used a variety of green, red, orange, and yellow peppers) as well as a generous pour of red wine. NOTE: For this recipe, I had a bottle of red wine from Adams County, PA, but any good dry red wine is great to add, provided it’s a red wine that you like to drink. Don’t ever add wine that you wouldn’t drink to a recipe, since cooking will concentrate the flavors from the wine.
Once the vegetables and wine are incorporated into the chili, I then added one can each of light and dark red kidney beans (rinsed and drained) and one can of diced tomatoes (not drained). I was now ready to add my spices to make this dinner into something memorable.
Since my family is not a fan of hot/spicy flavors, I used a conservative amount of dark chili powder, ground cumin, and smoked paprika, one teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, along with some salt and pepper. At the very end, I drizzled in a bit of a prepared Balsamic Glaze, which really gave this dish a bit of zing without overpowering the traditional chili flavors.
I do hope that you’ll try your hand at this chili recipe. Feel free to substitute other meats, beans, or vegetables as you like – that’s what makes each person’s recipe unique and special. We thought this version had a great balanced flavor… exactly what I wanted on a cold, rainy fall evening. This would be a great dish to share with friends and will freeze nicely, so feel free to double or even triple the recipe if you have the time (and freezer space)!