Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tequila and Lime Turkey Chili - Slow Cooker Style

I remember when crock pots first became the rage. Some of you might not have been born yet, but I was a young bride who had a very limited repertoire of recipes to make.  At that time, it seemed so cool that I could throw in some chicken and a can of soup and come home to dinner.   Several years ago, I upgraded my crock pot to a programmable slow cooker with a removable ceramic insert.  I like the oval shape and size, so that I can cook larger cuts of meats.  However, my slow cooker spends a lot of time, sitting on my garage "kitchen gadget" shelf.   My reasoning was that I don't have time to prepare a slow cooker meal in the morning, before work.

Then, I had an "aha" moment, that I should prepare the meals the night before, then turn on the crockpot before leaving for work. D'oh!  So, I bought America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution Cookbook... and the book ended up sitting on my bookshelf for a few weeks.   I finally made time to read the cookbook, and I have to say that it's well worth the investment. There is a lot of updated information on how to choose a slowcooker, and a lot of valuable tips from America's Test Kitchen.  The first recipe I made, and posted, was Easy Barbequed Ribs, and those turned out to be easy to prepare and very tasty.

I decided to try the Tequila and Lime Turkey Chili.  To be honest, I've made chicken chili, and turkey chili before. I found them to be lackluster in flavor.  However, the fine folks at America's Test Kitchen promised that they had a few tricks up their sleeves that would yield a moist and flavorful turkey chili.  As luck would have it, I had all of the ingredients on hand.  So, the night before, I prepared the chili.  The first step is to make a "panade" of white bread soaked in milk.  This prevents the lean turkey meat from becoming dry. I needed fresh oregano and garlic cloves.

The spices I needed were chili powder and cumin.  A skillet is heated with some vegetable oil over medium-high heat, until shimmering.

Next, I add onions, chili powder, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.


 
Stir in turkey mixture and cook, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, scraping up any browned bits; transfer to slow cooker.

Next, I add a can of diced tomatoes, pinto beans...

 ...3 tablespoons tequila, soy sauce, honey, and chipotles* into the slow cooker.  At this point, I put the slow cooker (good thing I have a removable insert) into the refrigerator until 6am.   *Chipotles in adobo sauce are pretty easy to find-- usually in the International Aisle.  They come in a can, and I use about half of what a recipe calls for . Chipotles are smoked jalapenos, and they can pack some heat!  I freeze the remaining chipotles, and simply chop what I need-- it quickly thaws when I add it to a hot recipe. Easy!


At that point, I sleepily plug in the slow cooker, and nestle the insert into it's cozy spot.  I turn it on, at low, for the six hour setting (my slow cooker has a Keep Warm cycle), place the cover on and dinner will be ready when I arrive home.

 I have to admit that this recipe is a little fussier than adding a can of this and a can of that.  However, it is nice to walk into my house and to be greeted by the aroma of something savory.  The final steps are to skim off the fat from the surface with a wide spoon. However, I didn't find that much fat at all!  Next, I add a little honey, a little more tequila, fresh lime zest and lime juice.

Dinner is ready, along with a fresh salad and either corn bread or flour tortillas.

I decided to garnish the turkey chili with avocado and sour cream.

TASTING NOTES:  I decreased the chipotle from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon (I'm whimpy about heat).  The chili has a tangy flavor from the tomatoes, with light notes of citrus from the lime zest and juice.  This is very different than a traditional beef-style chili, but it's a nice change.  It tastes "healthy". I don't know what to say if you have children to feed-- there isn't a lot of tequila, but I'm not going to risk Child Protective Services from paying you a visit.  If you leave out the tequila, I'm sure that the chili will taste fine-- or, you could skip adding more tequila before serving. The first two tablespoons, added at the beginning, would have long cooked out any alcohol. Your choice.
NOTE:  If you don't own a slow cooker, you could simply simmer this chili on low heat for a couple of hours. I'm sure it will be delicious.

This made a lot of chili for the three of us, so I froze half of it for one of those work nights when I am too tired to cook. That's when I'm glad that the microwave was invented!


A printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post.
 



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38 comments:

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I somehow missed the crock pot rage and to this day still don't have one. However I do remember my first Cuisinart, so believe me I was born then. Recipes like this make me want to go buy one.

Love the combination of the tequila and lime in your chili. For some reason I hardly make the same chili twice.
Sam

Carole said...

Because I Take Coumadin I need to be very careful with Knives. My Cusinart is the most used appliance in my kitchen.

I use my slow cooker a lot in the winter. Your soup is high on my list,

cdziuba said...

I use my slow cooker to make a wonderful Chicken Tortilla Soup. I LOVE my crockpot. cdziuba@aol.com

nancyannr said...

I love my slow cooker! I am so busy from the time the kids get home from school until suppertime....after-school activities, homework, etc....and it is such a relief to me when I know that dinner is the crockpot already!

rdsd221 said...

Pot roast is my favorite slow cooker recipe. I've made a hundred different ways and it always comes out great.

Anonymous said...

I cook many dishes in my crockpot, but the favorite is always pulled pork. It comes out full of flavor but still moist.
Kate

Mb said...

pulled pork!

blueblanket@hotmail.com

Mary Ann D. said...

I go to school so time is critical for me. I make teriyaki beef. When it's done, I reduce the sauce. I make an Italian roast with tomatoes, carrots, celery & wine. The leftovers (if there are any) are made into ravioli. I also make minestrone. I add the pasta when I get home.

Deb said...

My favorite crockpot meal is breakfast! I start oatmeal the evening before. When I get up the morning I turn the unit on high and we have perfect oatmeal in 20 minutes. A healthy hot breakfast is ready without any morning prep!

JennyO said...

I've recently joined the crock pot lover - embracing my crock pot I enjoy making my Mom's homemade Chicken Soup [ if you use the crock pot for your chicken - you can make 2 meals out of it ]
Another favorite of mine is Thai soup - the smell of curry when you come home is amazing!
And finally a tasty breakfast meal I found: Creme Brulee Oatmeal! YUM!
JennyO

Been awhile since I blogged a recipe: http://ostranderpress.blogspot.com/

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Pat R said...

I love sour beef and dumplings in the crock pot....also overnight oatmeal is a winner.

psrrn@aol.com

Amber said...

Fun giveaway! I love my crock pot, it is my favorite kitchen tool. I love making meat for fajitas and tacos on mine. I do shredded beef, pork and chicken. It is so easy to just toss on on jar of salsa and throw in some black beans and corn, and you have the easiest meal. We like to put it in tortillas and top with cheese and sour cream and guacamole! Another winner is to make a sweet pork with some Pepsi and brown sugar and it makes a delicious Mexican pork salad!

Anne said...

I love my slow cooker! And America's Test Kitchen. Besides chili, one of my favorite slow cooker recipes is Rick Bayless's pork tinga tacos - so good with avocado and Greek yogurt: http://fromanneskitchen.blogspot.com/2011/04/slow-cooker-pork-tinga-tacos.html

freeswim15(at)hotmail(dot)com

Jenn Nahrstadt said...

my favorite slow cooker meal is probably pot roast with carrots, onions, mushrooms, and potatoes. OH the wonderful gravy and how the veggies are transformed by it!

about the chili-i'm curious how prominent the cumin flavor is. the hubster HATES cumin, so i'm curious if you think he would detect it. if you think so, what would you substitute for it?

thanks for the chance to win!

buzzd said...

I like pot roast because it is easy and people usually love it. Just basic ingredients like carrots, onions and potatoes with roast and you have a great meal

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I know my life would be easier if I just remembered to use my slow cooker more. I love the wonderful smell of something simmering away in my crock pot when I come in at night. I shy away from ground turkey because I've been disappointed in its lack of flavor, but I'm going with your recommendation here. Debby.

Chris said...

My favorite slow cooker meal is Pulled Pork - hands down! Love the blog, thanks for the recipes!

All Things Yummy said...

I don't know what I'd do without my slow cooker. It saves me so much time. My favorite slow cooker meal is corned beef and cabbage. Delicious!

FOODalogue said...

I really like the flavor profile here with the tequila and lime -- and the addition of sour cream and avocado. Sounds like a winner!

Maureen, Milwaukee said...

Pot roast with potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onion gravy is my favorite slow cooker recipe. First it's a great Sunday dinner, and later in the week, it magically becomes delicious pulled BBQ sandwiches. I just bought my first slow cooker two years ago, and find it's really handy in the winter when I want something long-simmered and tasty. Thanks for the turkey chili recipe - am going to try it next weekend.

Wave Watcher said...

My favorite crockpot recipe is Kalua pork. It is so easy, and so delicious. I also love that it makes a good quantity so I can freeze the rest for future meals, usually served as carnitas.

I tried your BBQ ribs. I love chili and this one sounds very tasty. I like the kick that lime gives to a dish. And I do like ATK.

Joanne said...

Sounds like an awesome cookbook! I definitely don't use my slow cooker enough and have NO idea why...but when I do, I just prep the meal the night before and cook it while I sleep. I always wake up UBER hungry, though. Yum to this chili!

kimt said...

Soups and pot roast...always work.

blah blah blah said...

My favorite crock pot dinner is beef stew

Heather said...

I love making a pot roast in my slow cooker. The house smells sooo good when I get home from work. Thanks for the great giveaway!
heatherspooner1981 at gmail dot com

tresor said...

I like, very interesting

Diane said...

choucroute! it is a great winter comfort food, and easy to make for a crowd.

Just layer your favourite sausage (and toss in some duck, pork chops, or bacon) along with sauerkraut and some reisling. You can also substitute beer for the riesling. For added unique flavour, toss in a few juniper berries.

Serve with yummy bread, a selection of cheeses, and your favourite mustards.

Amalia said...

My mom makes a mean beef stew in a slow cooker! I mean it's super tender and just falls apart on your fork! MMM :)

Your chili looks fantastic! I love that it's made with turkey, it's a nice change! It looks super fresh and delicious! And what a great giveaway, I love ATK :)

Rob said...

this is amazing i loved also dumplings :)
and your cool tequila and lime + chilli is the best :0

Crunchy Creamy Sweet said...

Mmm, I can almost smell it cooking.. Yum! My favorite slow cooker meal is chicken breast cooked in salsa-sour cream sauce. Delicious! Happy to be your newest follower!

Susan said...

How did I miss this. I am using the slow cooker for my corned beef tomorrow. Would love this cookbook.

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Pulled Pork. I need slow cooker help so I hope I win, lol

James said...

Love the Recipe,

Leve my Crockpot,

Love all that you share, especially your photography! Thanks so much for everything.

Ashley said...

My gosh! I read this recipe the other day and somehow missed that I could enter to WIN this book! Thanks for the heads up on Facebook. My favorite crock recipe has to be my meaty spaghetti sauce. It took quite a few tries not to get the weird burned meat taste but I have it down now!

Muneeba said...

Psssssst .. it's me! I know, I've been scarce on the blogosphere, but am happy to be back reading your posts, and salivating! Therez just too many good recipes using a crock pot out there, that I think I need to get my hands on one. Finally.

Ally said...

I love making a big batch of Kalua pork in the slow cooker. Eat some the first night with macaroni salad and white rice (hawaiian style) and the next night in tortillas like a taco. 2-meals in one.

Your recipe looks delicious!

charpal said...

hi debby...my favorite slow cooked meal is a brisket w/hunts tomato sauce and lipton onion soup....add some carrots and potatoes- not glamorous but delicioso. charlotte/drsilly@drsilly.com

bellini said...

I really should break out my crock pot since dinner would practically make itself while I am at work. This turkey chill sounds like a good place to start.