Wish Upon A Dish: Four Bean Turkey Chili ♥ better than Panera's

October 20, 2015

Four Bean Turkey Chili ♥ better than Panera's

Yes, I am aware of the ongoing fight as to what constitutes "authentic chili" in America.
This is just as big as frying or baking your meatballs.
Texas uses chunks of meat and gags at the mention of beans, Tex Mex aficionados use black or red kidney beans, Cincinnati loves it sweetly spiced and poured over spaghetti, the North East uses  ground beef and serves it over dogs and burgers, Californians like it full of veggies and turkey, Chuck Wagon contests have them with only beans and spices and the rest of the population couldn't care less as long as it's chock full and spice-loaded.

I am from the latter. I love all chili's but this last batch I made went right to the head of the class.
Before I eat out, I find the nutrition content that by law, has to be posted somewhere, and choose the healthiest low-calorie option in the "I like" category.

Panera's has this 5 bean turkey chili at 280 calories that knocked my socks off. It also kicked my taste buds in the butt. This I could eat everyday as a starter, as a lunch, for dinner and even over pasta. Since I can't run to Panera's every time I have a craving and I know I can recreate it at half the price, I took out my Dutch oven and went to work.

Two things. First, I do not like edamame, or at least the ones I have tried to eat. They are just too crunchy for me to include a dish full of sexy, soft foods. They just don't scream COMFORT to me.
Second, they cost more than the whole of all the rest of the ingredients in this recipe.

Since I couldn't think of a respectable replacement this time, I simply left them out and added black beans to the mix.

Don't tell your football pals what's in it till after they ask you (and they will ask). Some frown down on poultry in their chili but even before I added the browned turkey tenders to the pot, it had so much flavor from the spices that I would even make this if I had no meat.

You will need:
A Dutch Oven or heavy bottomed stockpot
Ancho chili powder (McCormack glass bottles now carry specific chili powders - ancho, chipotle)
Regular chili powder (I like Simply Organic brand)
Cumin & Italian Seasoning
Kidney Beans
Cannellini Beans
Black Beans
Garbanzo Beans

I tried Bush's Chili Beans (in a light chili sauce) but regular beans will do fine. Bush's thinned the consistency (and the taste) of the sauce so I had to simmer an extra 30 minutes to evaporate the liquid and concentrate the flavor.

Let's get cooking......

Four Bean Turkey Chili
makes 10 (1 cup) servings at 166 calories per
Total cooking time: 2 hours

* 1 pound turkey tenders
* AP flour for dredging
* Adobo for seasoning
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* Pre-chopped container of onions, carrots & celery (or one each, chopped fine)
* 2 large cloves garlic, minced
* 1 small red & green pepper, chopped
* 1 (15oz) can Italian style stewed tomatoes in tomato sauce (pureed in blender)
* 3 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 1 tablespoon black pepper (yes, that is right)
* 1 tablespoon generic blend chili powder
* 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
* 2 tablespoon white wine or beer
* 1 carton vegetable or chicken stock
* Salt to taste (at the end)
* 1 can garbanzo (chickpea) beans (drained and rinsed)
* 1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
* 1 can black beans
* 1/2 can yellow corn

Heat the oil in Dutch oven.
1. Season tenders with adobo and dredge in flour.
2. When the oil is hot, saute the tenders until browned on all sides.
3. Remove to a platter.
3. Add the onion/carrot/celery mix and saute until they start to brown. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add the peppers and the seasonings (ancho, chili, cumin, pepper and Italian) to the pot and saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Add the tomato paste and stir, then the wine to deglaze the pan.
5. Add the pureed stewed tomatoes and 3 cups stock. Stir and bring back to a simmer.
6. Add the beans and corn and simmer, uncovered until the liquid thickens and coats the beans.
7. Taste for salt and add more seasoning if needed.
8. If serving immediately, save the remaining stock for reheating. The beans will soak up liquid as they sit.
9. Serve with lite sour cream and Tostito restaurant style chips.

Yes, this can be done in the crockpot but the consistency will be soupy. This is when you taste. If the chili is flavorful thicken with crushed chips or masa harina. If the chili tastes watery with no flavor, you must spoon into a stock pot and simmer, uncovered, until it thickens. At least 30 minutes.

Let me know if you like it or not.
At 166 calories a cup, this would be the perfect starter to tame your hunger until the main meal is served.

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