My mother, God bless her, was not much of a cook. She only had a couple of tried and true recipes in her “go to” list. The rest, in the era that was introduced to convenience foods, was boxed, canned and highly processed. I didn’t like food much as a kid… thanks to meals like Chun King canned Chinese food and powdered potatoes and canned meatloaf (yes, I said canned. It even had the can rings imprinted in the meat when you pushed it out.). Fortunately, during college I dated a guy whose mom was a gourmet Italian cook and I discovered a whole new world!
But one meal Mom used to make, that I absolutely loved, was what she called her “Gringo Chili”… and though the beans were canned, she did brown some hamburger and warm some flour tortillas… and that was HUGE for her! Mom grew up in New Mexico where you eat your chili with tortillas, not cornbread, so that’s how she served it to us. And we couldn’t have been happier!
My palate has improved over the years, so I needed to spice it up a little. This recipe is a tribute her her. I love the nostalgia this chili brings… but of course I had to make it my own. I made a huge crock pot of it and took it to work today and it literally disappeared in 10 minutes. What was the magical ingredient that everyone loved and kept trying to guess? That’s right… red hot curry paste! It gives it heat and a depth of flavor that’s a little unexpected. My boss even had sweat beads on his forehead – but he ate every last bit of it!
Ingredients (This serves about 10 people – adjust according to size you’re feeding… but you’ll definitely want leftovers)
1 pound ground turkey (feel free to use beef)
2 cans chili beans (use liquid)
2 cans red kidney beans (drained)
2 cans light red kidney beans (drained)
2 cans pinto beans (drained)
2 cans stewed tomatoes (drained)
1 small can diced jalapenos (optional if you need it tamer – us substitute with diced green chilies)
1/2 medium Vidalia onion )or any sweet onion) – diced finally
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Hot red curry paste
Salt & pepper to taste
OPTIONAL for garnishing:
Monterey Jack cheese
Flour tortillas (warmed)
Ready to Cook?
Brown the meat in a large skillet, adding the onion, cumin, curry paste and salt & pepper. If using a fatty meat that will need draining, cook meat separately and saute the onion with the seasonings in another pan. Drain meat and then combine. This is the main reason I use lean ground turkey – no draining necessary!
Add all the ingredients to a large stock pot or slow cooker. If using a slow cooker, leave it on low for 6-8 hours. Or on high for 2-3 hours. If cooking stove top then cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes or until you see all the juices rising to the top.
The Perfect Bite
As a kid, I used to roll my tortilla up like an empty burrito and use it to scoop the chili up instead of a spoon. I may or may not still do that. :)
The Perfect Pairing
The heat in this chili goes perfectly with an ice cold beer. My favorite is Negra Medelo.
The Perfect Health
The main component in chillies is a chemical called Capsaicin, which is responsible for the intense heat sensation. Capsaicin lowers blood sugar levels, improves heart health, boost circulation and protects against strokes. Eating chillies can have a very positive impact on people who are overweight or suffer from diabetes because they reduce the insulin levels. Known as circulation boosters, chillies can have a major impact on your health by boosting circulation and also act as a blood thinner to help protect against strokes.
The regular intake of chillies can help to minimize the effects inflammatory diseases have on the body. Capsaicin also provides effective pain relief if applied on skin and also has antibacterial properties..
The Great Benefits of Eating Chili – Chillies Help to Burn Fat
Capsaicin is also a thermogenic compound and increases the metabolic rate, which aids in the fat burning process. Chilli oil is used in anti-cellulite creams and it was proven to be very effective. I actually tried it myself and I was amazed. You can prepare chilli oil at home. Choose a base oil (preferably cold pressed – I used olive oil) and add a couple of chopped dry chillies. Pour the content in a small bottle and place it in a cool, dry place. Leave it there for about 2 weeks then start using it.