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A Super Bowl of Chili

Tonight we’re going to a Superbowl gathering! Not that I really have any idea who is playing (fairly sure it’s the LA Lakers vs. the Cleveland Tigers) or what to say to engage with the game (Gooo, sports guys! Throw that ball over the end line!), but I like the billion dollar ads, finding fault with the halftime show, and the pomp and circumstance.

On one of our first dates, my husband took me to the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore to see his beloved Orioles play, giving me the opportunity to show my enthusiasm for sport. We took our seats and I asked excitedly, “do you think we’ll get to do the Wave?”  First, he looked stricken, and then his lip curled.  “We. Don’t. Do. The. Wave,” he sneered.  When the time came, I kept my seat but did shoulder-height jazz hands. Compromise is the key to a successful relationship.

Truth be told, I mostly love the SuperBowl because it’s a good excuse to gather with our dear friends the Antoons, as we’ve done for the past 15 years or so, and tuck into some delicious food and drink.

Tonight I’ll be bringing the chili inspired by my favorite sporting competition, the Food Network’s Chopped.  Surely you’re familiar with it—3 contestants open “mystery baskets” containing weirdly mismatched ingredients (think, octopus, crimini mushrooms and candy corn) and have to create something palatable in 20 minutes. 

Sometimes at 5:30 pm, when I don’t have a dinner plan and can’t make myself go to the grocery store, I pretend that I’m on Chopped, and force myself to make dinner with the odds and ends I find in my fridge and pantry.  That’s how this recipe for turkey chili was born.

The chili is infinitely adaptable.  It accommodates any kind of pepper or veggie you have on hand, could be made with beef or ground pork, and can be spiced up or down.  The technique – saute the onions & peppers, then add the meat til mostly cooked, then tomatoes, spices and beans and simmer for 30 minutes or more—is what matters.  The ingredient I find most indispensable is smoked paprika, which I didn’t discover until 3 or 4 years ago, and I now wonder how I lived without it.  It adds a delectable smoky flavor to soups, casseroles, and guac.

So enjoy the game, sports fans. Let’s meet back here tomorrow and discuss the important aspects of the game: what we ate, the best and worst ads, who had the prettiest helmets, and, God willing, at least one halftime wardrobe malfunction.

A Super Bowl of Chili

Recipe by Betsy OwensCourse: Main, SoupsDifficulty: Easy
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

This turkey chili will make you do jazz hands. This is enough for 12; can be easily halved.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, diced

  • 1 large bell pepper (I like yellow), diced

  • 2 large jalapeno peppers (optional or can sub another bell pepper), seeds removed & diced

  • 3 lbs. ground turkey

  • 2 15-oz cans Rotel or plain diced tomatoes

  • 2 15-oz cans tomato puree

  • 2 15-oz cans kidney beans, drained & rinsed

  • 2 15-oz cans black beans, drained & rinsed

  • 2 Tbs. chili powder

  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper (less if averse to heat)

  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (fine to include stems)

  • Toppings: sliced avocado, shredded sharp cheddar, crushed tortilla chips, etc.

Directions

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot
  • Saute onions & peppers until soft, about 5-7 minutes
  • Add ground turkey, and saute until mostly cooked, about 5-7 minutes
  • Add tomatoes, puree, spices and salt and stir well
  • Add beans and chopped cilantro and stir well
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings. Go team!

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