Red Chili with Turkey or Beef

Superbowl time and the food that always comes to mind is chili. I have already posted my white bean chili, which I love but this is a more common version. Chili is not an exact science and you can feel free to make substitutions where you like. Obviously the toppings are optional and at your own discretion. Chili is just so easy to make. It sits on the stove or your slow cooker and when you’re ready to eat it, it’s all done. I like chips or taco shells with this. I love fresh jalapeno on the side chopped up, guacamole, refried beans, etc. If you don’t want beef, make it with turkey instead. I usually make it with turkey but this time out I made it with ground beef because I couldn’t get the turkey. We just landed in Aspen and the small market by the airport only had ground beef so it will have to do. I usually make this one day ahead for a special event. This allows the flavors to all meld together and then I just reheat–couldn’t be easier.

A little trick I learned a while back was to add a little Masa flour. It is usually available in the section with Mexican foods. I stumbled upon it quite by accident, and sneak it in with this recipe. I use about 1/8 a cup of Masa flour to about 1/2 cup very hot water. I add it during the first 1/2 hour and see how it thickens up. I probably use about 2/3 of the flour in the end, and it adds a corn flavor and thickens up the chili. (Directions are below.)


2 lbs. ground beef or ground turkey–If I am using ground turkey I prefer ground dark meat if you can find it. It’s much more flavorful . You can use white meat turkey but try for 85/15. That’s 85% white meat with 15% fat. I just find the O% fat to be very dry. Of course these are all personal choices.

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (12 – 14 oz) tomato sauce, and then about 1 –  2 cans of water

1 can (Ro-tel) diced tomatoes and chilies

1 can (15 oz.)red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1/8  cup masa harina (corn flour) found in the Mexican food section of the supermarket (Mix flour with about 1/2 cup very hot water. It will be quite thick. Drop in by spoonfuls and mix well to incorporate. I probably used 2/3 of the flour mixture. This is optional but ever since I discovered it, I’ve been using it.)

1 can yellow corn (optional, but I always like to add it in. I use a small 8 oz. can)

1 small can (4 oz.) poblano green chilis, cut up or diced (also in Mexican aisle)

1 teaspoon ground oregano (I use Mexican oregano. Use it if you can get it. If not, regular is fine.)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I like the heat. This is optional. You can also take down to 1/4 teaspoon.)

1 teaspoon kosher salt (then you will taste for additional salt. I added 1/4 teaspoon more at the end.)

Grated shredded cheddar or jack cheese for serving

diced red onion and diced fresh jalapeno for serving

Tortilla chips, guacamole, sour cream and salsa for serving

*cilantro for topping (I love cilantro so I chop it up and leave it out for individual garnish.)


Place the ground beef or turkey in a large stock pot (Le Creuset) and put in the garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned. Drain off any excess fat.  Add in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, and reduce heat to low. I use the 15 oz. can of tomato sauce as a measuring cup and add 1 -2 cups of water (this time out I used 1 1/2 cans of water.) Let simmer for an hour or so, covered, occasionally stirring, and adding water, if necessary.

Place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Add masa mixture to the chili and stir together and taste for seasonings. Add more water if needed. Add the beans, corn, and chilis. I usually add salt at this point. Simmer for another 1/2 hour or so covered. It can simmer for a long while, if you so desire. Or, turn off heat, and just heat up 1/2 hour before serving.  You should check for thickness. During the last 1/2 hour, I added a bit more water .

Serve with assorted toppings I’ve listed. Cheese, jalapenos, chips, guacamole, salsa, chopped red onions, sour cream  and cilantro.

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