So here’s the deal: I’m obsessed with this chili.
It’s hearty, zippy, and feel-good with Tex-Mex toppings that make my head spin in the best possible chili-loving way. And I know say this almost all of the time about 99% of the foods that I make and eat, so I totally understand your doubts (obsessed? or overly dramatic?), but someone might need to put a restraining order on me to keep me away from the absolutely cozy-to-your-toes combination of smoky ancho, ground turkey, nutty farro, and fire roasted tomatoes.
I’ve made this spicy ancho turkey chili three count ’em 1-2-3 times since I first accidentally developed the recipe last weekend. So that’s a total of 24 servings of chili that have gone through this house in a matter of five days. Don’t even do any kind of math with that. STOPITRIGHTNOW.
Last weekend we decided to invite my family over for a movie night. I originally said we would order a pizza and almost instantaneously I experienced self-induced Food Blogger Shame, not because I was going to order a pizza (all. the. time. guys.) but because I felt like there was no reason why I couldn’t do a little better for my family.
Plus it’s starting to majorly feel like chilly fall here in Minnesota, and I cannot think of any better time to get all those cozy food smells going right in your warm, snuggly house.
Since I’m reading the book Bread and Wine right now which is all about the spiritual, emotional, and social connection that happens when we share food together, I was inspired to forgo the pizza and try to make a quick little something that would be the perfect compliment to movie night.
In the book, Shauna says your food doesn’t have to be fancy, and I agree. Sharing a meal with people is very thankfully not about perfection – it’s about creating a safe, cozy, restful space for people to find a safe haven from the “crush of the outside world” and enjoy food and community that will nourish our physical bodies in addition to hearts and souls. Look at us, getting all deep today. I promise I will stop talking about this book never in a million years. I love it.
I had some ground turkey in the freezer, a huge package of black beans from Costco hanging out down in the basement (hi small kitchen), and a big bottle of ancho chili powder that I bought for something at least six months ago and apparently never got around to using. With this recipe, I just totally went for it: no research, no stopping to contemplate if black beans would be better than kidney or white beans, no Google image searching for visual inspo, no texting my mom to ask how many cans of tomatoes she puts in her chili. It was created by what felt good and right and spicy-flavorful-delicious.
It was also created SUPER FAST because I needed to squeeze in a run AND shower in addition to making a pot of chili in the hour before they came. Just… yeah. Procrastination is my name and 30 minute meals are my game.
The chili starts with ground turkey that’s browned with a handful of jalapeños, red onions, and garlic and then made wonderfuller with a generous dusting of smoky ancho chili powder and cumin. Then comes the fresh salsa and crushed tomatoes with the black beans and – wait for it – the farro.
I’m about to go weird-foodie-semi-vegetarian-rogue on you in three, two, one —>
The farro is absolutely MY FAVORITE part of the whole chili – that cooked brown-rice-like grain gets tossed in at the end and it makes for a great chili texture by adding a little bit of chewiness and a nice warm nutty flavor. Plus it makes the whole thing feel like it might actually be health food (incredibly satisfying with the nutritional power of those super grains) in addition to being Fall Comfort Food 101.
And just so you can mentally prepare yourself for how this will all go down, this big bowl of healthy-delicious chili requires a mug-bowl, a handful of your fave tortilla chips as well as every other chili topping in the book because we ♡ toppings, a ridiculously comfy couch, and sweat pants from college + a hoodie that is five hundred sizes too big. But now I’ve said too much.
I would also like to say that you can most definitely make this without the turkey because the farro more than makes up for the texture and heartiness of the ground meat. And all the veggie people cheered! You could also go the other way and omit the farro (but you guys! SAD!) and you could also use a different kind of ground meat. Like beef. Like normal chili people. Normal isn’t really a thing for us around here, apparently.
Final word today: please do not ignore the toppings. I know you won’t, because we’re food people who love our toppings something fierce. Green onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and a few cilantro leaves are going to put you on a chili magic carpet and take you straight up to cloud nine.
Add all those toppings and stir it up and it starts to look like a mish-mash of spicy Tex-Mex everything in a bowl, right? Yes. Just how I like it. Chili mish-mash perfection.
- 1 cup farro (another grain like brown rice or quinoa would work)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups water, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ red onion, minced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 jalapeños, minced (remove ribs and seeds if you don't want it to be spicy)
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup salsa (works best with a "fresh" salsa brand like Salsa Lisa)
- 2 14-ounce cans crushed fire roasted tomatoes
- toppings (sour cream, cheese, green onions, tortilla chips)
- Bring the chicken broth and 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the farro (or rice or whatever grain you're using), cover the pot, and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes or until all liquid is evaporated.
- While the farro is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeños and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning the garlic. Add the turkey and cook until all the meat is browned and broken apart into "crumbles". Add the black beans, ancho chili powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, and salsa and simmer for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and however much of the remaining 2 cups water that you feel like you need to get the right consistency. Simmer for a few minutes while the farro finishes cooking in a separate pot.
- Add the cooked farro to the pot of chili and stir to combine. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions, and tortilla chips.
This chili (like most chili recipes) will taste better after it hangs out for a few hours or even a day or two, so if you have time to throw it in a slow cooker and let it get all delicious for a few hours before serving, I would totally recommend that. But it still tastes good in 30 minutes if that's all the time you have!
A few of you have asked about the news segment that we did yesterday, so here’s the link so you can get a better idea at how I look and act when I am extremely nervous and feel like I can’t breathe. I am literally laughing out loud just thinking about it and remembering how I used the word (is it a word though?) “craggly” not once, but twice, on live television. And I used it once in reference to something good and once in reference to something bad, which is not confusing at all. Gets flustered, talks nonsense. Ohmygosh.
There are so many things I could say about this little segment and the process of recording it, from awesome and super fun to embarrassing and stressful and hilarious, but we might need to just wait and share those stories over a bowl of chili some other time. Yeah?