skillet turkey chili – smitten kitchen

Always good to note: Chili powder is a spice blend for Tex-Mex chili. Chile powder is just made from ground chiles/dried hot peppers. I prefer the latter in chili, and then use the spice balance I want. Chile powders will range a lot in heat; use the level that you prefer. Alternately, or in addition, 1 tablespoon puree from a can of chipotles en adobo will provide a spicy, flavorful kick here. For the turkey, I prefer a blend of dark and light meat. To quick-pickled onions: Cut half of a small red onion into thin wedges. Toss with juice of half a lime, two good pinches of salt, one pinch of sugar, and set aside while you make the chili.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons ground chile powder (see Note; to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 15-ounce can black or small red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lime
  • To serve: Sour cream, pickled red onions, pickled jalapenos, grated cheddar, cornbread, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and/or thinly sliced scallions
Heat a large skillet — ideally 11 to 12 inches in diameter — over medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil and let it warm up. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until somewhat softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, your first teaspoon chile powder (and more to taste), oregano, and cumin and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add turkey and use your spatula to break it up and work the onion mixture through it. Cook until lightly browned at edges and no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Add beans and tomatoes and refill empty tomato can with water, setting it aside.

Bring chili mixture to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Add reserved can of water, 1/3 at a time, if mixture looks dry. Taste for salt and spice and adjust as needed. With a mild chile powder, I’ll add up to 2 teaspoons more, and did so here. If you can, let chili rest 5 minutes off heat before serving; I find that the texture sets up nicely. Finish with the juice of half the lime, and any fixings you like.

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