Tex-Mex Meets Comfort Food: Easy Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili

30 Nov

This dish is a great way to incorporate lots of veggies into a simple, one-pot (er, one-slow-cooker?) meal. The veggies I’m including in the recipe are very flexible, too; not that they do gymnastics (there’s a bad joke in there somewhere about Mckayla Moroney not approving of my pun or my recipe), but you can feel free to substitute whatever veggies are hanging around in your fridge.

It also hits just the right seasoning notes, with chili powder, cumin and garlic adding that Mexi-kick, and a few secret additions (cocoa powder? Yup!) along the way. Also, fun fact: If you have oodles of leftover turkey from T-Givs or other holiday celebrations in the next few weeks and months, this recipe is easily adaptable to include those tryptophan-laced trimmings. Enjoy!

Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili — serves 8 hefty-sized portions, with leftovers. Easily halved or even quartered, but smaller portions may cook better on the stove top in a large pot or Dutch Oven. (They could dry out in the slow cooker.)

You’ll need:

  • 2 lbs ground turkey; or, 2-3 cups cooked turkey, either shredded or cubed
  • 1 tsp and 2 tbsp chili powder, divided
  • 1 tsp and 1 tbsp cumin, divided
  • 1/4 tsp and 1 tsp garlic salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp and 2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
  • 2-3 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3-4 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized red onion, diced
  • 1 32-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 32-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 16-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • cooked rice or pasta, grated cheese, and sour cream for serving

Phew! Here’s what you do:

  • In a saute pan, brown the ground turkey with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup of the diced onion. Include the smaller measurements of divided spices (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt & pepper). When the meat is cooked through, add it to the slow-cooker. (If using cooked turkey, simply mix with the aforementioned spices and onion in a mixing bowl; then, add to slow-cooker).
  • Layer vegetables on top of browned turkey in the slow-cooker; sweet potatoes, celery, green pepper, carrot & red onion. Then, add tomatoes, beans and all additional spices. Mix thoroughly until ingredients are well-combined. Cover and set the slow-cooker on HIGH for 2-3 hours, or on LOW for 4-6 hours.
  • When the chili is done, serve in hefty-sized bowls with cooked rice or pasta (if you so choose — it’s also hearty enough on its own!), some grated cheese (I like either Mexican blends that are pre-shredded, or some grated queso Oaxaca (easily found at Mexican or Hispanic groceries, or often near other refrigerated cheeses).

Oh my GOSH, this chili is good. Granted, as a former Texan (ish, hehe), I’ll attest to the fact that nothing here is traditional, other than the inclusion of animal protein and some hefty spices. However, this modern, healthy twist is veggie-rich and filled with flavorful surprises. And if I can say anything authoritatively about Texans (other than their love for the Cowboys, which is truly undying), they love them some good food and hearty meals.

What are your go-to slow-cooker chili recipes? I know there are oodles upon oodles of ’em out there, and I’d love to hear about your favorites! Do you make your chili with other methods, like using a Dutch Oven or simmering over a low-and-slow stove top? Share! Converse! Mangia!

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4 Responses to “Tex-Mex Meets Comfort Food: Easy Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili”

  1. mixitupandmakeitnice November 30, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    This looks sooo good! Unfortunately I don’t have any slow cooker recipes to share though… will have to learn some 🙂

    • galleykitchengal December 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

      No problem! If you use a big ol’ pot on the stovetop or like to slow roast things in your oven, that’s just as good! 🙂 Glad you liked the recipe!

  2. Amy November 30, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    /:-* – I think this is the emoticon needed for the “not impressed” face

    • galleykitchengal December 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      The McKayla Moroney face??? I’d say it’s close to this one: -_- …. if you could add angry eyebrows and a scrunchy.

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