Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Auntie Em’s Chunky, Tailgating Chili

When I first started cooking some….um, ehm, all those years ago as a young child. My mother’s boyfriend at the time drilled into my head you HAVE to follow the recipe! Always follow the recipe! So, for the better part of…ehm, some more years, I did just that! Always following the recipe! If it called for something that I didn’t like or one of the boys couldn’t have, I didn’t make it!

Then one day, like someone smacking me upside the head with a 2×4, which is often times what it takes, it dawned on me, I could adapt any recipe to anything I wanted it to be! I’m sure that most anyone would say “well duh”! It’s just one of those things though that I think often times get overlooked and not thought about a lot until you have one of those prized “AHA” moments.

Anyway, I share this recipe for several reasons. One, it is quite cheap to make and can quite literally feed an ARMY! Two, it is easily adaptable to any sized family, or for adding less or more of an ingredient, which is always nice! Three, because you can easily put it together in just a couple of hours or let it simmer all day in the crockpot and it tastes delicious either way. Though I prefer a longer simmer, to let all the flavors marry. And finally for reason four, the things you can do with the leftovers can carry on for days! Now, before I share though, keep in mind that this will quite literally fill a larger sized crockpot! Oh and have I mentioned that it is FANTASTIC football food?! Cause it is!

If the directions look long, just know that I have rambled or explained something I felt was important. Scary thought, I know! ;)

My Chunky, Tailgating Chili


3 lbs of browned, seasoned, and drained, ground turkey

2 cps each of 3 different kinds of uncooked beans (I use a black bean, kidney bean and navy bean, purely because it is just pretty!)

5 cobs of sweet corn (again you can use canned but, it requires a bit more and can be a bit pricier, depending upon the season)

4 cups of cooked brown rice

5 cloves of garlic….or more if you LOVE garlic as my family does.

1 whole medium red & green peppers, diced You can use jalapeños here but, since I still have young boys, we keep the spice to a low. Just remember, if you use jalapeños, you obviously don’t need 2 of them! Sometimes one, if it is spicy enough is good.

1 whole medium onion (Or if you are allergic to them as I am….I KNOW, weird allergy to have isn’t it? Anyway, you can use dehydratd onions. The amount then is solely at your discretion).

1 large can of crushed tomatoes

2 small cans of tomato juice

2 packages of taco seasoning (your preference of how hot or mild)

two or more kinds of cheese

garlic salt & pepper to taste


First off, I know this goes without saying but, if you have 2 ADHD boys running around your house, every single step needs to be thought out! So, the night before you want to make this, remember to rehydrate your beans. It is fairly easy to fill a bowl or three with water and dump in 2 cups each of your beans and let sit while you get some sleep! When you’re ready the next day, be sure to drain and rinse your beans. If you didn’t set them out the night before, keep in mind that there is usually a “quick” way to do it printed on the package, this usually takes about an hour depending upon the bean. So, make sure that you alot the time to do that.

Next part is a bit of work but, trust me, it’s well worth it! You need to cut the corn off of 5 cobs of sweet corn. Why sweet corn? I thought you’d never ask! In the middle of this spicy, chunky chili, when you bite into this almost crunchy bit of corn and this juicy, sweet liquid explodes in the middle of that chili, you will understand why sweet corn is very important. You can use regular, you just won’t get that amazing moment. (Yes, I LOVE my food! lol)

While you’re doing the corn, you might as well chop up your green & red peppers, as well as your onion and garlic as well. There is no right or wrong way to chop them up really. You can make them as small as you want. I prefer my guys to have those chunky bits, so I almost cube mine but, if you want to hide some of the onions or peppers, make them smaller.

This is where you would brown up the ground turkey. I was taught and am a FIRM believer in seasoning the layers. Nothing is as good unless each layer is seasoned. So, here in the browning stage, you would thrown in a bit of your garlic, some of your red and green peppers, salt and pepper as well. Once your done, if there is any grease, which with turkey there is usually not too much, you need to drain it.

Now, you simply add all your ingredients, except the cheese and rice into your crockpot. Keep in mind though that this will be nice and THICK when done. So, if you want it more like a soupy chili, you will need to add more tomato sauce, so keep that in mind when buying them. I don’t though because I can use the leftovers for something fabulous too! Anyway, you can put almost everything in, remembering to salt and pepper it again. I use garlic salt because it brings out the garlic that you’ve used and if you’re going to use salt, lets try to make it less salt and more flavor! Don’t be afraid to be generous here, except with the salt.

Leave in your crockpot for as long as you want. If it will be 6 – 8 hours, leave it on low. If it will be a short time, then put it on high to get all those flavors to blend together well.

Right before you’re done, cook your brown rice up. Shouldn’t take long. Then mix in your rice when it’s done.

Spoon into a bowl, add your cheeses. I usually add a little pre shredded Colby-Monterrey jack and some spaghetti kind of mozzerella into it and serve to hungry football lovers!

*LEFTOVERS: You can freeze the leftovers. You will have plenty of leftovers because, this is made for men and teenage boys who, as we all know, have never ending black holes where their mouths should be, it was made to fill them up with just one bowl!

*So, if your family has a game night or you want a great last minute snack for company or Movie night, you simply defrost your little baggy. Stop at the store and pick up some nacho chips (or make your own) and some Velveeta. You can do store brand but, it will need to have a bit of milk or water added into it, as they tend to be a bit thick. Put both into a bowl and you have a fantastic nacho dip without having to actually do the work!

*Another thing that I’ve done with it, since leftovers tend to be a bit drier and this is a THICK chili, I’ve even lightly buttered and toasted hamburger buns and loaded them, generously, with the chili mix. The teenagers loved this a lot too. Anything that required the use of hands only seems to delight them more often than not!

*If you follow my recipe, it will be a thick chili. If you want to reheat it, you will need to add a little bit of tomato sauce or water. JUST A LITTLE though! We do this all the time and throw in our cheese and it never tastes like the next day!

Hope that this fills your tailgaters as much as it does mine and I hope that anyone that tries this, loves it!

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