Turkey Lentil Chili

By Thursday, January 14, 2016 0 Permalink

Turkey Lentil Chili 3

Does chili have beans in it? This is an age old recipe question, whose answer I don’t really care about. I don’t have a sweeping tradition of great southern cooking to fall back on, so to me chili is a much more open ended concept than how some people describe it. I say, put whatever you want in your chili. So long as it has protein and tomatoes, it’s all good. Now don’t get me wrong, all beef, traditional chili is delicious. But that is not what we’re playing with today, no, today we have a turkey lentil chili that I promise is every bit as comforting and satisfying as traditional beef. ‘Impossible’ you say? Behold the power of the mighty lentil!

Ingredients for Turkey Lentil Chili

Red Lentils for Turkey Lentil Chili

I love lentils. Lentils in almost any recipe can be intriguing and tasty. They rival rice and pasta as a starchy, complementary vehicle for the other ingredients on their way to your gullet. But unlike pasta and rice, lentils have extensive nutritional value (high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants) and more importantly, taste wonderful. Lentils are not just a textured additive to soak up sauce, they add a unique flavor to any dish.

I could keep on gushing about how much I love lentils but things might get a little weird for y’all so let’s say that I am a fan and you should give them a try as a component in any stew-type dishes you make. Even as a pasta sauce. All that said, lentils add a natural sweetness to anything they’re in so the biggest key with this dish is making sure that the rest of the components carry enough heat and enough acid to balance the thing out. I like my chili spicy and that is truly the best way to eat a lentil based chili, smothered in hot sauce and pickled jalapeno peppers.

Turkey Lentil Chili 4

Now why turkey instead of beef? Turkey is a more equal partner to the lentils than beef would be; beef is fattier and saltier, characteristics that your lentils will absorb. Basically, you can make this dish with beef but the whole thing will taste like beef, vs. the recipe here which is nicely balanced between the veggies, turkey, and lentils. As far as the veggies go, I stuck with a classic combo of onion, carrot, and peppers, but you can really use whatever suits your fancy, from zucchini, to chunks of eggplants, to bok choy, to broccoli. As I said there are no rules, just remember to be generous with your spices. There is no more painfully boring dish than bland chili, and boring sucks. We don’t want suckage, we want flavor.

Turkey Lentil Chili 1

Turkey Lentil Chili 2

Turkey Lentil Chili
Print Recipe
Forget the beef! Save those kidney beans for later! We've got a tasty and nutritious take on chili today featuring lentils and turkey.
Servings Prep Time
8 Portions 20 Minutes
Cook Time
4-6 Hours
Servings Prep Time
8 Portions 20 Minutes
Cook Time
4-6 Hours
Turkey Lentil Chili
Print Recipe
Forget the beef! Save those kidney beans for later! We've got a tasty and nutritious take on chili today featuring lentils and turkey.
Servings Prep Time
8 Portions 20 Minutes
Cook Time
4-6 Hours
Servings Prep Time
8 Portions 20 Minutes
Cook Time
4-6 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Portions
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop your carrot. Add to a deep pot or crock pot on medium heat.
  2. Next, clean and chop your peppers. You want to add the veggies that cook longest first, so guess what comes next?
  3. Coarsely chop a whole onion and add to the pan. Allow the vegetables to sweat and soften. When you can easily break a pepper chunk up with a wooden spoon you are ready for the next step.
  4. Brown your meat in the pan. This should take about ~5 minutes, Flip the meat as needed to evenly cook it through.
  5. Skim as much fat as possible from the pot.
  6. Add the tomato paste and mix thoroughly. Allow the pot to simmer for another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Pour in the chicken stock and canned tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the pot to cook and reduce for 2-4 hours depending on how thick you want the chili. Add more chicken stock if you've taken it too far down and want to loosen it up a bit.
  8. When the chili has the consistency you like, taste it. Add your dry ingredients except the salt. Mix thoroughly and allow it too marry over a 1-2 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  9. Serve with corn bread or tortillas or make a chili dog. Goes great with cheese, sour cream, and pickled jalapenos.
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