Simple Red Chili — Turkey or Beef

It’s definitely that time of year when you wake up and there is a chill in the air and that signals chili weather in my book . 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 , taco shells or small soft tortillas with this. I love fresh jalapeno on the side chopped up,  chopped red onion , guacamole, refried beans, etc.  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.

Can easily be made on the stove-top or slow cooker — 2 hours on high and 4 hours on low. It was perfect. First you’ll want to brown up the meat in a pan on the stove. Then dump all ingredients into the slow cooker ( spray first with cooking spray) stir it all up and set it and forget it till you’re ready to eat it. I made this chili in the morning yesterday and it was perfect! With enough leftover for 2 more meals!

This recipe will probably serve 6-8


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 chicken broth or water –start with  1 can of broth and only add if you need more

1 can (Ro-tel) diced tomatoes and chili peppers — If you can’t find Ro-tel brand use any brand that has diced tomatoes and chili peppers — again a 14 oz. can

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

1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed or Cannellini Beans — whichever doesn’t really matter —

1 can yellow corn (optional, but I always like to add it in. If you like corn use a large can (14 oz) if you don’t want as much corn use a small can

1 small can (4 oz.) poblano green chilis, cut up or diced (also in Mexican aisle) if you can’t find just omit it

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 more when I tasted it . You’ll have to do so at your own discretion

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 I also use hot sauce at serving time for those who like it hot and spicy.

*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 add all the other canned ingredients –beans, corn etc. Stir together well and bring to a low boil and then turn it down and simmer away for at least an hour. I use the 15 oz. can of tomato sauce as a measuring cup and add 1 can of chicken broth or water , if you’ll need more liquid you can always add a little broth/water at a time. Let simmer for an hour or so, covered, occasionally stirring, and adding liquid if necessary. See note above if you’re using slow cooker.  I usually add salt at this point. Simmer for  hour or so covered. It can simmer for a long while, if you so desire. I actually let it low simmer for a few hours and then if you’re cooking on stove top I heat it up and let it simmer for another hour or so right before serving. Slow cooker is a great way to go here.

Serve with assorted toppings I’ve listed. Cheese, jalapenos, chips, guacamole, salsa, chopped red onions, sour cream  and cilantro. We love small soft tortillas on the side of our chili or chips depending on my mood and what I have in the house.

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