Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

Growing up, I hated chili. Well, I hated beans which sometimes caused confusion when it came to chili dishes. Something about the texture just gave me the heebie jeebies. Whenever she made chili, my wonderful, amazing, accommodating mother would always add the beans at the very end of the process and just before she added them, she would transfer some bean-free chili to a special pot just for me. The lengths parents go to for their kids quirks! Needless to say, I’m often shocked and awed that I survived as a bean-free vegetarian for several years. Don’t ask me where I got my protein because I have no idea. Peanut butter, I suppose. Lots and lots of peanut butter.

Thankfully, I matured and so did my taste buds and now beans are a regular part of my diet. Nowadays, bean-less chili sounds about as appealing as, well, white bread. All that refined flour and white sugar…* shudder * No thanks!

Anyways, this past Wednesday I hosted Bible study (a.k.a. life group) at my apartment and wanted to cook dinner for everyone. Chili seemed like a safe choice because, unless your dealing with my 5-year old self, everyone loves chili. Plus, it’s hard to mess. You throw everything in the crock pot and let it go!

Still, chili seems a little too manly for my all-women life group. So much red meat! I was going to just make regular chili with ground turkey when I came across a recipe for Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili.

You all know how much I love pumpkin. I couldn’t resist. Plus, it called for a full can so I knew I wouldn’t be stuck eating pumpkin oatmeal variations for the next week and a half!

I followed the recipe exactly and you know what? It was unbelievably bland. It tasted like cooked ground turkey.

Thankfully, blandness is easy to fix, especially in a dish like chili. Out came the cumin, the chili, the garlic, and the oregano. And the salt. Lots of salt. I didn’t really keep track of how much I added of each. I just threw some in, stirred, tasted, repeated. But I can confidently say that all of the spices should be tripled if you make this dish. You may even want to do 2 cans of green chilis. Or chop up a jalapeno and throw it in. But that’s the beauty of chili! You just keep adding until it’s exactly how you like it.

Once it was properly seasoned, it was very good. I served it with strained  Greek yogurt and a blend of shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese as optional toppings and cornbread on the side. Sadly, you really couldn’t taste the pumpkin which was what had drawn me to the recipe in the first place. Next time, I think I will add 2 cans to give it a stronger pumpkin flavor. I think I would also add a bag or two of baby spinach to give it a boost of greens.

Despite all the adjustments I had to make/am planning to make, this recipe is a keeper. The women of my group cleaned it up (including second helpings!) and in the end, that’s all that matters!


10 February 2012. Recipes/Reviews.

One Comment

  1. Golden Cornbread « The Real Food Experiment replied:

    […] and milk. Apple pie and vanilla ice cream. So what kind of hostess would I have been had I served my chili without a side of cornbread? Not a very good […]

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