Buffalo Turkey Chili 

Nearly five years ago my husband and I moved to a small (for me) town in North Dakota. When we arrived in late February it was 10 degrees below zero there was at least a foot of compacted snow on the ground. For this Texas gal, it was absolutely terrifying.

We temporairly lived on the first floor of a crappy house that had windows that weren’t fully sealed, a dirty orange shower, and a slanted floor that smelled like dog-pee courtsey of the previous owners. Needless to say, I needed something to keep my mind busy while I was stuck at “home,” so I started cooking.

My first attempt at doing a weekly menu came courtsey of Rachael Ray’s April 2011 magazine (which I still have and frequently reference, by the way).

In this magazine I found a 30-minute meal that stole my husband’s belly, Buffalo Turkey Chili (Rachael Ray calls them “Smoky Buffalo-Style Turkey Bowls,” but my family has adapted). When I made this, mind you, I was cooking using a box of pots and pans we received on loan from the military (aka: the bare bones from Wal-Mart) so if I could make this with those, you can make this too! When asked to puree the chilis, simply mash them with a fork or a whisk until at a smooth consistency, it takes about 5 minutes.

This recipe is still a favorite in my house. I make it when I know my husband is having a bad week or has just come home from a work trip and I make it when I’m feeling lazy but want a hearty meal. This recipe takes 30 minutes, no joke, from start to finish INCLUDING chopping AND cleaning! I make it a little spicy, but you can adjust that by lessening the amount of chipotle chili you use.

My favorite part about this chili?? The toppings!! Once this chili has simmered for a few minutes, top it with a couple cheeses (blue and pepper jack are my go-to!), some blue corn tortilla chips, and jalapenos and toss it under the broiler for a few minutes. If you want to really be wow-ed by this recipe, DO NOT SKIP THIS PART!

So, now that the weather is cooling down and comfort foods are more of a necessity, I highly recommend you check out this meal. If you like chili and blue cheese, I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Buffalo Turkey Chili
Adapted from Rachael Ray

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground turkey breast
4-5 carrots, chopped into one-inch rounds
2-3 stalks celery, thinly chopped
1 red onion, finely diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 small can chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (found in the international food aisle)
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock (if using salt-free chicken stock, make sure to add an extra teaspoon or so of salt)
A couple of handfuls of blue-corn tortilla chips
a handful of shredded pepper-jack cheese
a handful of crumbled blue cheese
a couple spoonfuls of pickled jalapenos

1) Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook until it is no longer pink, stirring frequently to crumble the meat.
2) Meanwhile, chop the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and place into a large bowl
3) Once the meat is fully cooked, add the bowl of veggies to the meat, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.
4)While the vegetables are cooking, place the chipotle chilis in a food processor (I use a manual one for this) and puree. Once you are done, add 1-2 rounded tablespoons into a small bowl (I use 2 VERY rounded tablespoons, but we like things pretty spicy in our house). Add the can of tomato sauce to the bowl and stir well, creating a chipotle-infused tomato sauce
5) Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking, stir in the chipotle-tomato sauce and the chicken stock. Let simmer for five minutes.
6) Meanwhile, heat the broiler on high and place your oven-proof bowls on a baking sheet (2 bowls per sheet works for our house). Place 2-3 scoops of chili in each bowl and top with both cheese, jalapenos, and crumbled chips.
7) Broil the topped chili for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the chips have browned
8) ENJOY! 🙂


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