Living in Phoenix usually means a warmer winter than what I’m used to experiencing. We used to live up in Flagstaff with all that snow and one digit temperatures! But no matter where we are, the chilly weather inspires warm dishes that really hit the spot! This year we had an exceptionally short winter it seems. It’s mid-February and we are back up into the 80’s and on occasion we’ve peaked into the 90’s. But that doesn’t mean that winter didn’t happen! While it was still chilly and dipping into the 30’s I really wanted to look at some thicker, heartier recipes rather than just my soups. So I looked at my options for something that could cure the cold in my bones without having to make a full blown dinner with sides.
Honestly, I was never a fan of chunky chili with extras in it. I grew up eating a recipe for chili from a competition in Teralingua, Texas. It only consists of beef, onions, seasonings and chili powder. For a long time, I thought that’s how chili was supposed to be. Any other variations just confused me and turned me away. It didn’t help that I was a picky eater as a child either. I didn’t care for beans, and cooked tomatoes were just plain gross. In a crunch and looking for an excuse for some good old fashioned Crock Pot usage, I came up with a slow cooker turkey chili recipe that is a mixture of Tex-mex style and my mom’s chili. I put aside my childhood feelings and boy am I glad I did!
This slow cooker turkey chili is composed of not only my mom’s chili recipe, but it incorporates what I’ve learned over the years. I purposely made it a lighter chili so that anyone who makes it doesn’t feel weighted down by a huge serving! Incorporating turkey instead of beef really cuts down on the fat and calories. Making sure there are plenty of vegetables is yet another way to make this dish hearty and chock full of the good stuff. I tried a second batch and threw in some finely chopped cauliflower as another thickener. It came out great. The versatility of the recipe is where you can make it your own. The base of chili is set in the recipe but you can mix it up to your taste!
This dish is not only hearty and filling, but there is a subtle spicy kick that leaves you wanting more. It goes great with all kinds of sides. Serve it up with some cornbread or top a baked potato with it. Next time you’ve got a cold front coming in, whip up a batch to keep you nice and warm! You can freeze or can the recipe or you can share with others.