Sunday 19 January 2014

Healthy Turkey Chili Verde

Chili verde literally means "green chili". Traditionally it is a pork stewed in tomatillos,  green chili peppers and cilantro. It is really quite delicious. Perhaps one day I'll share the traditional version on the blog. This version is a very non-traditional but very healthy and surprisingly scrumptious. The green colour comes instead from spinach and baby kale blended with a little chicken stock to form a smooth sauce. Spinach and kale are superfood greens that we could all benefit from eating more of. This is an incredible way to do just that.

A friend of mine was on a blood type based diet and there was a recipe for this in a book she had purchased. She made it for me and I couldn't believe how tasty it was. I adapted it a bit to make my own version but as you can see by the list of ingredients it is still quite nutritious. The original recipe calls for 5 cups of spinach and no kale (which you can certainly do) but I found some great great baby kale at the market so I used  them. It doesn't feel like you're eating diet food at all. The flavours are rich, complex and comforting just like a good winter chili should be. Please give this a try. You've gotta eat it to believe it! 


1 lb lean, ground turkey
3 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2 cups baby kale, roughly chopped
1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, finely minced
1 green pepper, finely minced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
fresh cilantro (for garnish)
Your favourite hot sauce, to taste (optional)

Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a heavy bottom saucepan and warm at medium-high heat. Add the onions and green pepper with a pinch of salt. Sautée for about 3 minutes while the onions go translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 3ish minutes.

Remove the cooked veg and set aside. In the same pan, add the ground turkey. Break apart into little pieces and allow to brown completely. Once browned, use a wad of paper towel and a pair of tongs to soak up any excess fat from the turkey. 

In a food processor or blender, add the spinach and baby kale to the chicken stock and blend into a smooth, puréed green sauce. If using a blender, you may have to add the greens in two batches so everything will fit. 

Reintroduce the cooked onion, green pepper and garlic to the turkey. Add the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, bay leaf, green sauce, artichokes, and beans. Bring to a simmer.

Allow the chili to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. The sauce will start out intensely green but will mellow out as it stews. The chili will reduce a bit so you may have to add a bit of chicken stock as needed. Remember to stir from time to time to prevent anything from burning. 

Once finished, remove the bay leaf and taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary. If you plan to add hot sauce, now is the time. This will serve 4-5 people so if not everbody you're cooking for likes spicy food, leave it out and allow your guests to add as much hot sauce to their own helping as they like. 

That's it! Not only is this recipe very healthy but it was probably designed for people who don't like to cook. I only say that because this was beginner level easy. Anybody can pull this off. This chili is great as is. I ate mine with a little yogurt (in place of the fattier sour cream) and some fresh cilantro. This can be eaten just like that, with rice, with bread or wrapped up in a tortilla as a tasty burrito. 

This recipe is perfect for a simple weeknight meal or a post workout feast. It covers all bases in terms of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Even if you're not a health nut, this tastes awesome and you can do whatever you like to it to make it your own. Because it's a stew it is yet another recipe that will taste even better the longer it sits and it freezes beautifully if you want to save a batch for another time.

I really hope you enjoyed this. Just a reminder, MasterChef Canada premieres tomorrow night on CTV at 8:00 PM EST. Be sure to tune in to see if I earn a coveted white apron and move on to the next stage of the competition. Big tings a gwan as my West Indian friends would say. lol.


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