I’m dreaming of warm California weather today. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re on day number ‘I’ve lost count’ of clouds & rain while my friends to the East are getting the snow storm of a lifetime. Back in November, my husband and I spent an amazing week touring around southern California, which of course included a day at Disneyland. Walking around the park there were a lot of great food choices but I took note of all the people eating hot chili in what we would consider summer weather. Everyone else was bundled in warm jackets and pants while we were sweating in t-shirts and shorts! We may also have been sweating from the 30,000 steps we took while running around the park trying to avoid the line-ups, but either way our definition of cold is clearly very different.
For me, chili is the ultimate winter food and is perfect for feeding a large group of people – say for an upcoming Super Bowl party? (or my bottomless-stomached husband). I like to make a big batch of chili when having friends over – once the chopping is done it becomes pretty hands-off as it cooks, allowing you to be with your guests rather than in the kitchen. Then your guests or family members can create their own chili bowls by customizing the toppings. You can also make chili a day or so in advance which is why this recipe has a permanent spot on my make-ahead dinner list.
I’ve been playing around with this recipe for some years now, mixing different types of beans and vegetables and have finally found the perfect combination. Kale is the surprising ingredient in this chili, but I love how it stands up well to the long cooking time and also I’m happy whenever I can get something green into a meal. If you want to make this chili vegetarian, which I often do, simply omit the ground turkey and add a second can of beans.
Hope you all are managing to stay warm. Me, I’ve got a belly full of this chili!
Black Bean Turkey Chili
Serves 6-8 people
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeños, seeds removed and finely diced
- 10-12 button mushrooms, sliced (4 cups or ~8 oz)
- 1 796ml can diced tomatoes, including the liquid
- 1 796ml can crushed tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini, diced (2 cups)
- 2 cups of frozen corn kernels
- 1 540ml can of black beans, rinsed
- 1 bunch of kale, middle stem removed and leaves chopped.
- 2 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Toppings: green onions, cilantro, grated cheese, avocado/guacamole, sour cream, diced fresh tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, hot sauce, tortilla chips, cornbread….let your imagination run wild!
- Heat oil in a 5-quart dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink, ~5-7 minutes.
- To the turkey add diced onions, garlic, and jalapeños. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions begin to soften.
- Turn down the heat to medium and add the spices. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, cooking the spices in the oil will develop a deeper flavour and take away the raw spice taste.
- Next add the mushrooms, diced and crushed tomatoes. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Add zucchini, black beans, corn, and kale. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning to taste and continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. At this point you can cover the chili and turn heat to low and keep cooking for up to a few hours – the longer it cooks the more flavour you will develop.
A few years ago, on our way back from Mexico, we decided to bring back a rather large bottle of tequila. I don’t know why we did this, maybe it was too much sun (or maybe too many drinks at the beach?), but at the time we thought it was a good idea. Fast forward 4 years and we still have a huge bottle of tequila sitting on our shelf. In my attempt to slowly make our way through the bottle, without actually drinking it, I came up with this marinade for chicken. It’s now my go-to whenever I need super flavourful chicken for a Mexican inspired meal. It’s delicious on tacos, quesadillas, or as a topping for a nice salad. I recommend getting the marinade started first, because you want to let the chicken soak up all the flavours for at least 30 minutes before you cook it. While you are waiting, you can prep the rest of the ingredients for the warm corn salsa.
Speaking of warm corn salsa, it is absolutely addictive. Sweet, salty, spicy, and a little sour from the fresh lime juice. It really deserves it’s own blog post, but for today it will have to settle for sharing the spotlight with this grilled tequila lime chicken.
This is the perfect summer evening meal: it requires little prep, is bursting with fresh summer flavours, and utilizes the BBQ. If like me, you aren’t lucky enough to have an outdoor BBQ, you can use a cast iron grill-pan or an electric grill. Or in a pinch you can simply use a frying pan. Any way you cook this chicken it will be delicious.
Tequila Lime Chicken with Warm Corn Salsa
Serves 4, recipe by Kirsten
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- juice and zest of one lime
- 1/4 cup tequila
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon Mexican chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- salt and pepper
Warm Corn Salsa:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cups of corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 medium sized jalapeno pepper, seeds and membrane removed, minced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (~2 cups), sliced
- juice of one large lime (or 2 small limes)
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
Serve with sliced avocado and a nice green salad.
For the chicken:
- Combine all the marinate ingredients and pour over chicken. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- On a preheated grill, cook the chicken for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway, until chicken is no longer pink inside.
- Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps to seal in all the wonderful juices.
For the salsa:
- Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until soft.
- Add the corn to the onion mixture, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick.
- Next add the lime juice and chopped tomatoes. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Turn off heat, then mix in chopped cilantro and feta cheese.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
**If you are using this chicken for tacos, once it is cooked slice into bite-sized pieces, place into warmed tortilla shells, top with the corn salsa and some avocado, sour cream, and fresh lime juice. Yum.
It’s reached that time of year again. It’s officially too hot to use any appliance in our small, one-bedroom apartment. Dinner-sized salads have edged out comforting soups and stews on my dinner rotation. I came home from work needing something quick to eat. Since I didn’t have any leftover protein in the fridge, I went to my trusty cupboard and grabbed a can of chickpeas. These little beans pack a punch of protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as heart healthy fibre. You’ve heard me talk about fibre before and for good reason. Most of us simply don’t get enough! By adding more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and these versatile legumes into your diet, you can easily boost the amount of fibre you eat.
This salad has all the key ingredients of a delicious and satisfying meal-sized salad; crunchy vegetables, tangy dressing, protein-packed chickpeas and a burst of flavour from the lemon and fresh herbs. I can already picture this salad going perfectly alongside grilled meat or fish, or even wrapped in a tortilla for a quick lunch.