As the first frost descends upon New England, I have been thinking about comfort food that is useful to stock in the freezer for those cold evenings when I don’t feel like cooking, and I don’t want to wait for takeout.  So I came up with my own twist on Turkey Chili.  It’s a bit healthier than Beef Chili, though you can easily substitute ground beef if you have a hankering for that.  I also used chickpeas and cannelloni beans in lieu of black beans and kidney beans, since the former are a bit easier to digest.  And, with a few not so secret ingredients (i.e., lots of Mexican sauces such as mole include chocolate), one consumer told me, “This is the best chili I’ve ever had.”  You be the judge…trust your tastebuds and add more or less spice to suit your palette.

Ingredients:

Two yellow onions, chopped

Three cloves of garlic, chopped

Extra virgin Olive oil

Three carrots, peeled and chopped

Two stocks of celery, chopped

One small package baby bella mushrooms, sliced

One parsnip, peeled and chopped (Secret ingredient #1)

One bunch fresh cilantro (stems removed and chopped) (Secret ingredient #2)

Sea salt

Ground black pepper

Handful of chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life vegan ones) (Secret ingredient #3)

One teaspoon of cumin

Two tablespoons chili powder

Red Chili Pepper Flakes to taste

4, 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes, no salt added

1 can chickpeas

1 can cannelloni beans

1 lb lean white ground turkey

Instructions:

Cover bottom of soup pan with extra virgin olive oil on medium.  Add onions, salt, and pepper, and sauté.  As onions soften, add garlic and red chili pepper flakes, more or less of the latter depending on your spice desire.  Add mushrooms, sauté.  Adjust temperature higher or lower to prevent vegetables from burning, add EVOO as needed.  Add carrots, sauté.  Add celery and parsnips and sauté.  When vegetables have softened, add ground turkey.  Saute until turkey is cooked through, mixing with vegetables and breaking turkey into small pieces.  Add tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, chocolate chips, additional salt and pepper to taste.  Add beans, stir to combine, cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and add chopped cilantro, mixing through the chili.  Let simmer covered for two to two and 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Adjust seasoning to suit palette, but remember that flavors will settle as the chili cools.  If you want additional heat, you can always add some tabasco sauce.

Serve over rice, with corn chips and slices of avocado.  Try not to eat the whole pot before you put some of it into the freezer!