Abigail Cahill O'Brien

Short on Chili Meat? Add Quinoa and Zuchinni.

In Food on June 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Do you read Three Many Cooks?  It’s a wonderful recipe blog which really belongs on the blog roll.  (Voila!  Done.)  Pam Anderson (no, not that Pam Anderson) and her daughters Sharon and Maggie take turns sharing kitchen escapades and how-tos.

I wanted to make their spicy turkey chili, which calls for three pounds of turkey meat and one 28 oz can of tomatoes.

The wrinkle: my jar of tomatoes was four times that size, and I had only two pounds of turkey meat.

Solution? I added three cups of cooked quinoa, two zucchini and two yellow summer squash, which puts this in range of the admirable “meat as condiment” approach to cooking and eating.

Because I only had two onions and two lbs of meat, I happily kept the oil level the same as the original recipe (3 tbsp) even though I tripled everything else, with no adverse affect on taste.  If you have more onions on hand, though, throw them in, adding oil as necessary – I just happened to be short a few.

Below is my final recipe after all that tinkering.   If you’re not cooking for two dozen, head on over here for the original version (serves six).

I love their suggestion to toast the chili spices in a dry skillet; it imparts a whole new, and enjoyable, level of smokiness, and left me wondering why I’d never thought to do it before.

I also love eating soup from my gravy boat.  There’s always a spot for the spoon on the lip.

Spicy Turkey Chili with Quinoa and Zucchini

(Adapted from Three Many Cooks)

  • 1 cup chili powder
  • 6 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium large onions, cut into medium dice
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 4 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 3 quarts chicken broth
  • 6 cans (16 ounces each) beans (pinto, black kidney or a variety), drained and rinsed
  • 13 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 ounces bitter-or semisweet chocolate (I used both)
  • 4 medium zucchini or summer squash, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (the equivalent of 1 cup uncooked)

In a medium skillet, toast chili powder, oregano, and cumin over low heat, stirring constantly, until spices are darker in color and fragrant, being careful not to burn them.

In a large stock pot, sauté onions in vegetable oil until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add ground meat, and cook through. Add toasted spices. Then stir in tomatoes, and broth; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.

Stir in beans, garlic, chocolate, and zucchini; simmer about 5 minutes. Sprinkle cornmeal over chili and stir in. Simmer to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes longer.  Add quinoa, stir, and serve.

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