What do you crave when you are snowed in and have just spent all of your energy shoveling the drive? A warming and hearty chili of course! I started to evaluate my pantry and found that I had varied ingredients that I could throw together for a chili. I had just picked up a bag of organic green lentils this week and thought they would add great fiber, texture, and nutrition to this one-pot meal. Feel free to sub out different kinds of meat, beans, vegetables or lentils for this pantry chili. It is not so much about following this recipe exactly, it is more about ease of putting dinner on your table and not having to rush out to the store for any ingredients! This came about because of what I had on hand, but would have been equally as delicious with sweet potato, or sauteed eggplant. After simmering the chili for an hour, I discerned that it was too sweet in flavor and needed some depth added. Two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses were the perfect deep flavor that it needed to complement the cumin and chili and still keep its chili profile. I hope you like this variation! PS. If you like a bit more heat, feel free to kick it up with more chili powder, red pepper flakes, or hot paprika!
1 lb ground turkey (or substitute meat of your choice)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 small can diced green chilis
1 box low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion diced
1 ½ stalks celery diced
2 carrots diced
1 ½ cups diced butternut squash or sweet potato (this is optional)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup organic green lentils
2 bay leaves
2 tsp chili powder (more or less depending on your taste for heat)
1 tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp black ground pepper
½ tsp sea salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
Plain Greek Yogurt (Sour Cream)
Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Chopped fresh chives or chopped green onions
In a large stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium high heat , add turkey meat and break up with wooden spoon until browned. Remove from pot and set aside.
In the same pot heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat. Add diced garlic, onion, celery, and carrot. Add two bay leaves. Saute until caramelized and browned slightly.
Add browned ground turkey meat into stock pot with sauteed vegetables. Add can of crushed tomatoes, box of chicken broth, diced green chilis, butternut squash, lentils, cannellini beans, all spices, and blackstrap molasses.
Bring to a simmer and hold for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. If you wish, use back of a wooden spoon to mash the larger pieces of butternut squash into the sauce.
Serve up in your favorite bowls and garnish with a dollop of plain greek yogurt (or sour cream) and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese and chives or green onions. Serve with homemade corn bread. I sometimes use Jiffy corn bread for an easy pantry addition to this meal.