You know it is Spring, and you would think Chili would be the last thing on my mind, however in trying to see what all you can make with lentil experimentation is key. I have found that lentils are very satisfying and stick with you for a long time without making you feel stuffed.
I had been wanting some chili, so I thought this would be a good time to experiment with this recipe and like most recipes it is entirely adaptable to your personal tastes.
I used Red and Green Lentils, these are what I had on hand, though I would have used others also. I like the small golden lentils, and want to try the Black Beluga Lentils. Being close to Whole Foods, where they have a bulk section it is very easy to buy just what you need or want in the way of spices, grains, and the many other ingredient in bulk they offer, you can buy any amount from 1 bay leaf to a pound or more.
I used ground turkey thighs in this recipe, which was on sale at Whole Foods the day I went in, as dark meat has more flavor than white meat.
The Chili turned out more in the way of a thicker soup, than chili with beans, but you could easily add a couple tablespoons of corn meal to thicken it further, and add more tomatoes or tomato products.
LENTIL & GROUND TURKEY CHILI
1 1/2 pounds Ground Turkey (I used ground thighs)
Brown the ground turkey in your pan with some olive oil, till done.
2 1/2 cups Lentils (I used Red and Green)
1 Large Onion (chopped)
1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
Pinch of Thyme
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Bay Leaf
2 Dried Chipotle Peppers (torn or cut up)
6 cups Water
Put water in pot, add bay leaf, granulated garlic (fresh can be used as well) , chopped onion, pinch of thyme. bring to a boil and add lentils.
Bring to a boil, cut heat back to a slow boil, and cook for 10 –15 minutes, being careful not to over cook the lentils into mush, which I find happens easily past 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, and ladle off the extra water, down to the level of the lentils, or a bit below depending on how soupy you like your chili.
1 – 28 ounce large can Tomatoes (I used diced)
You could add puree, crushed, some paste, the key with lentils I find is that you will not be cooking it much past the point of initial cooking as you don’t want to over cook the lentils.
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Light Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Dark Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Basil, Thyme, Oregano
1 Bunch Cilantro (chopped fine)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Add the ground turkey.
Stir all together and let simmer just a few minutes.
Serve as is, or with a dollop of sour cream, some grated sharp cheese.
I did not add crushed red pepper, or cayenne which I generally use, as the light and dark chili powders seemed to have some heat as well as the chipotle peppers.
I also thought that this would be good if you wanted a thicker split pea type soup by using a hand blender to puree the mixture.
As with any soup, this recipe is easily adaptable to your personal tastes, would be good with chopped celery (would put in with the boiling water, or you could easily sautee’ the onion and celery together and add with the ground turkey.
You may not like using the entire bunch of cilantro, I used the whole bunch because there has been reports that the use of cilantro helps chelate iron from the body, which since I retain most of the iron I take in is a good thing for me but perhaps to over powering for you.
The addition of ground ginger, you may think I am crazy, but since it is good for stomach upset and gas, I use when cooking any legume (bean) which seems to help with flatulence, and you cannot tell that it is even in the recipe.