Usually, chili is associated with a cold winter day, but Richard and I enjoy this spicy, turkey chili on a “hot” summer day (Here in the Southwest, “hot” means well over one-hundred degrees!). Like most turkey chili, this chili is lighter and lower in calories than a beef chili. However, my spicy chili has a lot more going for it than just the fact that it’s made with turkey. A combination of special ingredients creates a unique chili.
First, there’s the jalapeno peppers. Big rings of sliced jalapeno peppers, including the seeds and veins, make this chili “spicy hot”. This is not a chili for the timid. The heat level of this chili brings you right up to the point where your eyes feel like they might start watering, but they don’t. In my book, that’s perfect! Now, you might think that you shouldn’t eat spicy food in hot weather. That’s just not true. Spicy foods make you sweat, and in turn, that cools you down.
There’s chopped mushrooms in this chili. I don’t know about you, but I don’t put mushrooms in my standard beef chili. The mushrooms give the chili a hearty flavor without the fat and unwanted calories of meat. This chili is lighter and healthier than your average chili.
Two cans of Mexican stewed tomatoes give the chili a strong tomato flavor. Lately, I’ve had to search through my local grocery stores to find these. So, when I run across them, I stock up. The flavorful stewed tomatoes do make a difference in the chili.
Instead of dark kidney beans, this chili recipe uses Navy beans (small white beans) and pink pinto beans. These lighter beans balance well with the turkey, mushrooms and tomatoes. The chili is not overly laden with beans, making it suitable for summertime.
I don’t have to worry about heating up my kitchen during the hot summer weather when making this chili. It cooks in a crock pot. Another bonus is that this chili freezes well. I freeze mine in serving size containers. Then on a hot summer night, when I don’t feel like cooking, I just defrost and serve. It doesn’t get any easier!
The last step to this perfect summer chili is serving it with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. They add that necessary burst of freshness. You can add shredded cheese if you like. I serve this spicy chili with warm tortillas and ice cold beer, for an ideal summer meal!
Vintage red hot chili pepper salt and pepper shakers from Lisa’s collection.
I am adding the pictures that Margie sent me of her Spicy Turkey Chili cooking over her fire pit (see comment left below). Man, does that look good!
Margie’s told me her fire pit is made from a section of the Alaskan pipeline. How cool is that!