Turkey and Chocolate Chili with loads of vegetables

Turkey and Chocolate Chili - trustinkim

With this chili recipe I was looking to keep it healthy (lots of veg and lean ground turkey), while giving it fabulous flavour – and I succeeded! There are many layers of flavour – multiple types of peppers, spices, and a hint of  chocolate and lime. I’ve actually made a chili similar to this many times, but I’ve always forgotten to write down what I put in it. I’m so glad I wrote it down this time, because I think this is one of my best. I’ve made a similar recipe to this in a vegetarian version, exactly the same but without the turkey of course.

The recipe makes a large quantity, so you can halve it if you don’t want as much, or throw some in the freezer for a quick meal down the road.

If you can plan ahead, make it a day ahead of time – chili always tastes best the next day. There are a lot of ingredients, and a fair bit of chopping in this recipe, I know. But really worth it! This recipe turns out best if it is allowed a long cooking time.

I served mine with a garnish of x’nipek, a red onion salsa I learned to make in Mexico. It’s really easy to make, but totally optional.

Here’s a great little article about differentiating between chopping, dicing and mincing.

What you need:

  • 1 cup chicken, beef or vegetable stock
  • 2 dried guajillo or ancho peppers
  • 300-400 grams lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, medium chop
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped(remove the seeds if you don’t want much heat)
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 1 sweet red or banana pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 8-10 mushrooms, small chop
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-796mL/28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 -796mL/28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1-156mL/5.5oz can tomato paste
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Turn an element on the stove (works best with a gas stove, but you can throw them under the broiler if you don’t have one – watch carefully that they don’t burn!). Wave the dried guajillo peppers over the flame, turning to heat both sides. They will start to smell fragrant. Remove the stem and seeds and place in a small pot with the stock. Heat this up to a simmer, then let it sit off the heat for about half an hour. You can go about making the other parts of the chili while it sits. After the half hour, purée the pepper with the stock in a blender.
  2. Now heat a very large pot over a medium flame, then drizzle in a little olive oil. Cook the turkey until it is no longer pink, then remove it from the pot.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to the pot, then add the onions and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.
  4. Add all the peppers (except the soaking guajillo), zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots. Stir the veggies while they cook, until slightly softened.
  5. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne. Stir to coat the vegetables in the spices and cook for a minute or so.
  6. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste and the puréed chili and stir it all together. Once it starts to bubble, turn the heat to low. Let this cook for at least an hour, but preferably two or more. Give it a good stir from time to time, making sure it doesn’t burn.
  7. Add the chocolate and let it melt in as you stir. Stir in the lime.
  8. Enjoy!

Lychee Mojito

This summer I went to Nana Restaurant and Bar in Brooklyn, New York and had the most amazing lychee mojito.  Along with some fabulous appetizers like homemade ravioli and seared tuna… yum!  This is my attempt to recreate the mojito, and it’s pretty good!  A nice drink to sip and escape the heat on the patio.

What you need:


canned lychees

white rum

fresh mint

club soda

What you do:

For each drink, squeeze half a lime and put it in a short glass with about 3 tablespoons of the lychee syrup.  Add a shot of white rum.  Take a spring of mint and squish it up a bit, then put it in the glass.  Add some ice, then top it up with club soda.  Give it a little stir and enjoy!

Cilantro Pesto

Often, when I don’t know what to cook, I open up my Rebar cookbook.  I’ve tried a lot of the recipes, loved a lot of them, but only blogged a few.  This pesto is a nice change from the usual, with cilantro, pumpkin seeds, lime juice and jalapeno peppers.  I served it tossed with some baked spaghetti squash, but it would also be great on regular pasta. This recipe is half the original, and makes about 2/3 cup of pesto, plenty for a few people.

What you need:

1 bunch clean cilantro, stems chopped off

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1/4 jalapeno pepper, chopped with seeds

1 garlic clove

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons grated parmesan or asiago cheese

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

What you do:

1.  Toast the pumpkin seeds slightly in a dry frying pan.  They toast really fast, so just turn the heat to medium-low and shake them around every half a minute or so.

2.  Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor.  I just have a little handheld one, and that works fine. Puree until everything is chopped to little bits.

3.  Pour in the olive oil, a little at a time, until it is combined.

Ready to go!

Beef and Chorizo Empanadas

If you’re looking for a savoury appetizer that you can make ahead, you might want to give this a try.   This recipe is an amalgamation of the empanada recipes I found on the internet – I put together all the elements that I thought would work well together.  And how can you go wrong with flavourful meat-filled pastry?

You can make the filling and pastry ahead of time, then assemble and bake them right before you need them.  Alternately, you can make them days or weeks ahead of time, then pop them in the oven right out of the freezer .  This is great for the times when you suddenly need something the serve and don’t have time to do any cooking.

What you need:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 onion, diced finely

1 clove garlic, diced finely

1 carrot, diced finely

1/2 red bell pepper, diced finely

500 g extra lean ground beef

500 g uncooked chorizo, with casings removed

1/4 cup red wine, optional

1 teaspoon cumin

1 & 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 cup chopped green olives

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 teaspoons honey



hot sauce

1 egg

lime wedges to serve

For the pastry:

2 & 1/4 cups flour

1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 large egg

1/3 cup ice water

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

What you do:
1.  To make the pastry, blend the cold butter into the flour and salt with a pastry blender or your fingers.  Mix the egg, water and vinegar, and add them to the flour mixture.  Mix with a wooden spoon until combined, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2.  Cook onion in oil until slightly browned, then add peppers, carrots and garlic, cooking for a few minutes.

3.  Cook the beef along with the chorizo, in another pan.  Break it up as it cooks so the meat is in fine pieces.  Drain excess fat, then add to the vegetable mixture.

4.  Add optional wine and simmer  for a few minutes.  Then add cumin, paprika, olives, raisins, honey, pepper and a few dashes of hot sauce.  Simmer until very little liquid remains.

5.  Season to taste – you may want to add more hot sauce, depending on how spicy the chorizo.   Remove from heat to cool before filling pastries. (I cool the filling the day before)

6.  Roll out dough to about half a centimetre thick.  Cut into circles with a cutter or bowl.

7.  Using your finger tip dab a little water along one edge of the rounds.  This will help the pastry stay sealed.

8.  Place the pastry in the palm of one hand, fill it, then lightly pinch it shut.  To  seal you can make a folded edge or close with a fork.

9.  Combine the egg with a little water, then brush onto each pastry.  Poke a few holes with a fork into the top of each pastry.

10.  Bake at 400C for 20-25 minutes, until golden.

11.  Serve hot with lime wedges.  Squeeze a little lime juice on top right before it goes into your mouth!

Black Bean and Corn Soup

This is my new favourite soup recipe –  hot sauce makes it a little spicy, corn adds a little sweetness, and a there’s a ton of flavour in here.  Some of the soup is pureed, but there’s lots of colour from the remaining vegetables.  Topped off with a little yogurt, it tastes decadent.

What you need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 – 398 mL can of diced tomatoes

5 cups black beans, cooked (about 1 & 1/2 cups dry)

6 cups vegetable broth

2 – 341 mL cans of corn

salt and pepper

hot sauce

plain yogurt

1 lime

What you do:

1. If you are cooking your own beans, place them in a pot of boiling water, bring back to a boil and cook for a few minutes.  Turn heat off and soak for about two hours.  I like to drain in the middle of the soaking time and bring back to a boil – this helps ward of the gas causing properties beans can have.  The last step is to rinse, then bring the beans back to a boil, then lower the heat and cook until soft.  This shouldn’t take too long.

2.  Heat the olive oil and add the onions, garlic, peppers and carrots.  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

3.  Add the oregano, cumin, beans, tomatoes and broth.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about half an hour.

4.  Puree about a third of the soup.  I just put my immersion blender in and blended until I thought it looked good.

5.  Add the corn, along with its juice, and cook just long enough to heat through.

6.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

7.  Top with a big dollop of yogurt and some hot sauce.  Serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze on top.

Fresh Salsa

Homemade salsa is easy to make, as long as you’ve got really great tomatoes.  Over the winter you can still make it, but it won’t be nearly as good as when you make it with tomatoes ripe from the garden or farmer’s market.

What you need:

3-4 tomatoes

1/4 sweet onion*, finely diced

1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced


1/2 freshly squeezed lime

a pinch of sugar may be needed

optional: cilantro

What you do:

1. Cut up tomato into chunks of about 1 cm.  Place in a colander over a bowl to drain.

2. Add a little chopped onion, and a diced jalapeno pepper.  If you don’t want it to be very hot, take out the seeds.  That’s where most of the heat is.

3.  After the tomatoes have drained, add the rest of the ingredients.

4.  After letting it sit for a while to allow the flavours to mingle, have a taste and adjust the salt and lime juice as needed.  You may also want to add a pinch of sugar.

5.  I like to let the salsa sit for a while, then serve at room temperature with tortillas, fajitas and lots of other dishes.


* I prefer to use sweet onion because I tend to cry less – if you’ve got very sensitive eyes, you know how important this is.  Especially if you’re expecting company.  I also think they taste great!

Kamut Salad

This kamut salad is delicious and high in protein.  I cooked the kamut and made the dressing, then just made up half the recipe for dinner, serving the kamut hot with the fresh veggies and chickpeas.  I used the leftovers for lunches by cutting up fresh veggies and mixing them with the dressing and cold kamut and chickpeas.

For the kamut:

3 cups water

1 cup kamut

Bring the water to a boil, then add the kamut.  Reduce the heat, put a lid on it, and let it simmer for 1 & 1/4 hours.  Then take the lid off and let it simmer until the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes.

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon or lime

1 tablespoon flax or olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix it all together with the following ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained

1-2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 bunch scallion, sliced thinly

1 cup chopped mini cucumber

1/4 cup parsley, chopped