Green chile chili


Everybody has a chili recipe.

Our family version — the one I grew up spooning into bowls with cheddar cheese — was passed to my mom from my grandmother. It’s morphed a bit over the years, ingredients added or discarded, but at its core? Well, it’s still the same hearty meal all set to cure what ails you.

Though it’s definitely not chili weather yet (90 degrees and climbing in Maryland’s end of summer!), Spencer and I got a craving for this dish Wednesday night. It’s simple, quick, filling . . . and even better, relatively low in calories when enjoyed in moderation.

Since my fiance returned from business out in New Mexico in May, he’s been obsessed with flavors of the Southwest . . . especially green chiles. We can find canned versions here on the East Coast but, unsurprisingly, I’m assured they’re not as good as the real thing.  When we were setting our chili to simmer on the stove, we threw in two — or three — little cans of these babies.

So what goes in ours?

Ground turkey, browned;
1 large onion, chopped;
1 can tomatoes, with liquid;
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed;
1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed;
1 can baked beans;
3 small cans green chiles (or fresh!), if desired;
approx. 1 tbsp oregano (or to taste);
approx. 1 tbsp black pepper (or to taste);
approx. 1 tsp chili powder.

Everything goes in a stock pot, a Crockpot or, well, any pot you have handy. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes — but since we were starving on a weeknight, our “slow cooking” time totaled about, oh, an hour. Once the clock chimed 7 p.m., I couldn’t take it any longer . . . had to dive in. Just bring me a bowl.

Much like my grandma’s original, there’s nothing scientific about this. One of the best things about chili is that everyone has a favorite way of preparing it . . . and I don’t think there’s really a wrong way, you know? We browned the ground turkey in a dutch oven before adding the chopped onion, cooked together until the onions were soft. Then all the other ingredients were unceremoniously dumped in and stirred together, then baked in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes.

The results? A piping hot, filling and not-too-spicy green chile chili! I’m a lady with a tender stomach who gets nervous when her guy starts dumping in peppers, but the green chiles add a tangy flavor and interesting heat without burning my taste buds to shreds.

Can’t wait to make it again when there’s a nip in the air!


So what’s your recipe for chile success? What do y’all do differently? I’m always up for some fresh variations! I think we’ll add some chopped celery next time . . . I dig the crunch.