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Turkey Chili
By Charlie Burke

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We have ten foot high snow banks, one of which reaches the roof on the north
side of our garage, and today, a date when in past years I was nearly done
making maple syrup, I helped a neighbor tap some of our maples. So, since
winter is still holding on in central and northern New Hampshire, I thought I’d
share my wife Joanne’s healthy chili recipe. Originally a vegetarian chili, it has
been modified over the years and is a staple in our family, welcome on cold,
windy nights.

Usually, we make it with ground turkey, but it is equally good with cubed
extra firm tofu, especially if the tofu has been frozen to give it a more meat-like
texture. Like chowders and stews, chili is better the second or third day, so we
make a generous amount and enjoy it for several meals. With crusty bread and
a salad it makes a flavorful and easy lunch or dinner. We use a pound of
locally grown dried beans which cook in under an hour, but an equivalent
amount of rinsed canned beans or chick peas are fine.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano or herbs de Provence
3 tablespoons chili powder or 2 tablespoons chili powder and 1 tablespoon
paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne (or less, according to taste)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound ground turkey or extra firm tofu in ½ inch cubes
2 pounds of home canned tomatoes or a large (28 oz) can of tomatoes, such as
Muir Glenn, chopped if whole
1 pound dried beans, rinsed, or 3 cans of beans, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups water, vegetable broth or chicken stock

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion,
carrots, peppers and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned.
Stir in the cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne and the tomato paste and
cook another five minutes until the tomato paste slightly darkens. Add the
ground turkey and cook until it is no longer pink.
Add the beans, tomatoes, stock or broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low
and simmer for one hour or until beans are cooked. Add salt and pepper to
taste.

Serve with grated cheddar or jack cheese.

With a few minutes of prepping, this chili is in the pot and requires only an
occasional stir until it is done, and the recipe is easily doubled for casual
entertaining.

Make it with dried beans and turkey from local farms and serve it with a local
cheese, such as
Sandwich Creamery's  cheddar or jack, along with a locally
brewed beer, and join the growing number of your neighbors who enjoy the
quality of local foods and the satisfaction of supporting local farms and food
producers.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at
Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.
 
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