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Smoky Turkey & Sausage Chili with Jalapeño & Zucchini Cornbread

October 10, 2011

Smoky Turkey & Sausage Chili with Jalapeño & Zucchini Cornbread

It has been oddly hot the past few days. I don’t believe this actually qualifies as an “Indian Summer” because we haven’t had a sharp drop or frost yet, but the temperature has been above 80 for the past 3 days straight! I wish I knew that when I was planning this meal for last night originally. Luckily, by dinnertime it had cooled somewhat, and this was a spicy and comfortable meal for an Autumn night.

I’ve been wanting to make chili for a while, and have always been slightly daunted by it. I’ve only made one before this, but it was from someone else’s recipe. Somewhere during the thought process for this, I realized that this is no different from the preparation of a tomato sauce, but with different spices. After that I calmed down and had a good time! To keep the calories low we used a chicken sausage and ground turkey, but you can really feel free to play around with the meats, as this is a template for a basic chili.

The cornbread was something from Cook Live Eat Vegetarian, by way of The Kitchn. It gave me an opportunity to use a spare zucchini we had on hand as well as some jalapeños. It paired nicely with the chili and kept things savory and spicy.

Smoky Turkey & Sausage Chili (Serves 6)

  • 1.3 lbs ground turkey breast
  • 2 links smoky chicken sausage (we used “Chipotle Chorizo”), halved and sliced diagonally
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded, halved, and sliced
  • 1 bottle dark beer
  • 1 25 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 25 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 25 oz. can red kidney beans, drained
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder, divided
  • 1 tbsp. ancho chile powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • garnishes (grated cheese, chopped scallion, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, sour cream, etc.)
  1. In a heavy bottomed large pot (dutch oven is best), heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned on all sides. Remove sausage with slotted spoon and set aside in the refrigerator for later.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeños to pot along with a pinch of salt. Cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add 2 tbsp. chili powder and cook for another minute, then add the turkey.
  3. Cook until turkey is fully cooked through, stirring to keep things even. Pour in beer and stir to scrape up any browned bits on bottom of pot. Let come to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add both cans of tomatoes, cocoa, cinnamon, and another pinch of salt and stir to combine. Bring up to a boil and then down to a simmer. Cover, and cook over low heat for 1 – 1.5 hours.
  5. Uncover pot, add beans and rest of spices, and turn heat up to medium-low to maintain your simmer. Cook another 30-45 minutes, add sausage pieces, vinegar and adjust seasoning, and serve immediately with garnishes and cornbread (below).
Jalapeño & Zucchini Cornbread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients (milk through the jalapeños) and whisk to mix evenly. In another bowl combine remaining ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until *just* combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in loaf pan for 15-20 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely before serving.
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