Fall is just around the corner, so what’s the first thing you think of when considering fall food? For me, that’s chilli. Specifically my mom’s crock pot turkey chilli.
Growing up with three siblings and different shades of “pickiness”, it’s a wonder my mom ever found a meal that satisfied all of us. My brother liked his carrots and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My twin and I could eat almost anything as long as it wasn’t a weird texture or on our list of 5 never-ever-touching foods. And my youngest sister was sensitive to temperature — nothing too hot or too cold.
But to my memory, all of us would eat chilli.
And then I turned 10 and decided that I was not going to eat meat. Fish sticks became a staple in my diet up until Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t pass up the turkey on my favorite holiday. So, I was back to eating chicken and turkey (and sometimes pork), but I never went back to eating red meat.
My mom’s chilli changed with me. My sisters, too, have experimented with different eating styles — vegetarian, veganism, and the “weekend carnivore”. But despite all the variations our mom made to her beloved recipe, we all agree that mom’s crock pot turkey chilli recipe is king.
For my mom, making the switch from ground beef to turkey was easy. Once again, chilli was something all four of us would eat and love, and the taste — in my opinion — improved.
But making the switch away from ground beef isn’t always an easy sell, especially with how much of it Americans consume today. The average eater will consume 222.2 lbs. of red meat and poultry this year, according to the USDA.
Ret meat — any meat that comes from a mammal (pork, veal, lamb, beef, goat, and mutton) — has gained a bad reputation. Some studies have linked it to an increase in cancer, and while there is a correlation researchers have not found any causation.
However, red meat does contain several vitamins and nutrients that are essential to the body and difficult to consume by other means. Therefore, where your meat comes from has more weight to its actual health benefits than most studies give it credit.
Beef from local, grass-fed cows is better for your body and the environment than other beef. It may be more expensive, but the health and environmental impact is surely worth it. So if you want to stick with beef for your crock pot turkey chilli, please use grass-fed beef from a local farm.
On a cold winter day or a crisp fall evening, nothing warms you from the inside out like a bowl of chilli. This is my mom’s famous recipe for turkey chilli, and I have you to meet a chilli of its equal.
Add the butter and turkey to a large, rimmed skillet, and brown the turkey on medium-high heat for approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic powder, black pepper, and cumin and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Dice the onion and green pepper and cook them with the turkey for 3-4 minutes. Then, add the Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, paprika, and cayenne to cook for another 5-6 minutes.
Combine all the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and turkey mixture in a crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours. You can add salt to taste if desired, but you may not need to because of the saltiness from the canned foods.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Add a little bit of water when reheating frozen chilli.