Do you see what I’m dealing with? Thanks to La Nina and her chilling effect on the Pacific Ocean, we’ve had a freakishly cold spring. Between February 1 and April 14, we had only two days where the temps got above 55 degrees. Last year in that same time period, we had 26 days above 55. So when I whine, I whine for a reason!

Anyhoo…I’ve been in “let’s use up stuff in the freezer” mode, so when I saw that we had a package of ground turkey that needed to be put to good use, I immediately thought “Turkey Chili.” My favorite turkey chili recipe is a photocopy from a cookbook owned by a former coworker, so once again I don’t know the exact provenance. I do know that it’s super good, and super easy. It’s about as close to convenience food as I get.

Black Bean and Turkey Chili
Serves 8

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, peeled finely diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1.5 pounds ground turkey
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup diced celery
One 12-ounce jar of salsa
One 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes (break up the tomatoes with your fingers)
Two 14.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
One 14.5-ounce can corn, drained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese, for garnish

  1. Heat olive oil with the onions in a 5.5 quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for five minutes. Add garlic, cook for one more minute. 
  2. Add ground turkey and brown lightly, crumbling with a fork as it cooks. Add the red pepper, celery and salsa and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the tomatoes with their sauce, plus the black beans, corn, chili powder and cumin. Heat through (if you’re not ready to eat, it can simmer for a while).
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in warmed soup bowls and sprinkle with the grated cheese.