November 22, 2012 by Decorum DIYer
Just feeling the cool, crisp air makes me smile. This is my favorite time of year. I enjoy everything about it from back-to-school to Thanksgiving. It also happens to be the season that I met and fell in love with my best friend, Chris. It is also the season that we decided to marry, as our anniversary is October 20th (the same as his parents!). Part of the cooler weather means that I cling to comfort food. Who doesn’t? Recently I stumbled upon this recipe for Thanksgiving turkey leftovers on Pinterest:
It is a chili made with the leftover turkey. In these past weeks, I have been cooking a small turkey for our family’s dinners, as well as to provide my son with a protein for his school lunch box (in lieu of purchasing deli meat). As is the case with most soups/stews/chilis, the idea is use what you have available. It is both a frugal and flavorful way to make your family’s meal. I did make a few changed in this recipe to suit my families likes/dislikes and to accommodate the items I have in my pantry (I use the term pantry loosely, as I don’t have a bona fide panty in my home – I’m working on it…).
- When I roast my small turkey, I only prep it with olive oil, pepper, and salt on the skin and inside the cavity. Therefore, I skip adding salt to the chili recipe, as I feel the leftover turkey and it’s juices contribute enough salt.
- I refrain from adding additional pepper, as again the prepared turkey provides enough pepper and pepper can intensify strongly during the simmering process of the chili.
- I also refrain from adding any more than a small pinch of red pepper flakes.
- I dare not add any cayenne pepper, nor jalapeno. It isn’t that I don’t like spicy food, to the contrary; I am of hispanic decent and spice is a must have, but rather this is a family meal and I want my children to enjoy what they are eating. My husband and I can add our own spices and various diced peppers to our on bowl at the dinner table.
- I skip the sugar altogether. Who needs that in a chili? I think the tomato products provide enough sweetness.
- To use the leftover turkey, I first boil the turkey (fully in tact, with exception of the pieces of meat that are easily pulled off) in about two cups of water. This accomplishes two things: one, it allows me to get more meat off of the turkey to use in the chili (or any other soup/stew/chili recipe) and two, it creates a flavorful turkey stock that can be used in the turkey chili recipe or anything else requiring stock.
- I don’t use kidney beans, I use black beans. It is what my family prefers and what we usually have in our pantry.
- I often don’t have stewed tomatoes, so I use one or two cans (15 oz each) of tomato sauce and one full can (6 oz). This is where I really just eye-ball it in terms of the chili’s consistency.
- Our family eats this in several ways. As a chili in the bowl, but also as a burrito filling, or to as a dip for tortilla chips or crackers (my children’s favorite way).
This is a good recipe for our family. I knew I had stumbled upon a winner when both my husband and my son asked me when I was going to make both the turkey and the chili again.
There you have it. As you see, I use the above recipe as a guide, but tweak it as I see necessary. In the words of the late Julia Child, “Bon Appetit!”