Turkey & Kale Chili

Turkey - Kale "Chile"

A week ago, Sunday, I roasted a post-Thanksgiving turkey. New Seasons, the fabulous grocer nearest me, had deeply discounted their fresh turkeys hoping to sell them off before being forced to freeze them for less sumptuous turkey dinners of the future. In the past week I have had roast turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey lavash rollups, turkey mushroom casserole, turkey salad and turkey dumpling soup and I still had a pound of bits and pieces. So, since I had already made everything else, I decided to make a chili. Or more honestly, a “chili”, the scare quotes indicating how very unorthodox and inauthentic my chili will be.

I save my bacon fat in a little butter bowl, storing it for cooking when I want to add some easy flavor. I put two tablespoons in the bottom of my stock pot and began adding ingredients, stirring and sauteeing over medium heat.

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 TBSP of dried oregano
  • 2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 TBSP of chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne
  • salt
  • pepper

After the onions were cooked, I added

  • Leftover turkey cut in small chunks, about 1 pound
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 box of chicken broth (I had already used my turkey broth in the turkey dumpling soup.)

I let all this cook. Meanwhile I chopped up a bunch of kale. That turned out to be too much and I made yesterday’s salad with the unused kale. I added about 4 cups of chopped kate to the soup and put a lid on it and let it simmer. After it was done, I tasted and added a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Well, you can’t go wrong mixing tomatoes, black beans, corn and onions together – but the turkey adds a mellow savoriness and the kale gives it an earthy flavor. The overall taste is bright and fresh with plenty of toothsome bites with the black beans, the corn and the kale. This last catch-all dish is by no means a single serving, however. It made 2 quarts of soup for 8 servings.


Southwestern Bean Salad

  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 16 oz. pkg of frozen corn
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, sliced thin and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 3 zucchini
  • 2 jalapeño or a can of diced green chiles
  • 3 lemons, reamed
  • 3 TBSP of olive oil
  • 1 TSP cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mix together and let sit overnight before serving. This makes a lot, but it keeps very well as it’s acidic and has no dairy or meat in it. The flavor is spicy and tart with the fresh taste of lemon giving it a lovely bite.

    Vegan Corn-Cauliflower Chowder

    Vegan Corn & Cauliflower "Chowder"

    This makes a lot more than one serving, but generally I like making a good size batch of soup and reheat for a few meals. In a medium sauce pan, add 1 onion chopped, 1 diced serrano pepper to a 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook until softened. Add salt and pepper. Meanwhile chop up a whole cauliflower and toss in the pan and cover with water. Toss in a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. After it’s cooled, puree and put back on the heat, adding a small package of frozen corn, salt and pepper and some parsley.

    This has the consistency and look of a chowder but has a much bright, fresh flavor that blends well with the heat from the serrano. If you don’t want it vegan, adding sour cream as a garnish or into the puree would give you a slightly more mellow taste.

    Best Black Bean Lasagna

    Black Bean Lasagna - the Potluck Version

    Believe it or not, this vegetarian black bean lasagna tastes better than a meat lasagna to this carnivore. It’s an amazing recipe and one that I don’t cook often, because it’s more work than I usually like to put into cooking a meal. However, for potlucks, parties and guests, it’s a perfect choice. People will be amazed.

    1 15 oz can black beans, drained with liquid reserved
    2/3 cup of brown rice – uncooked
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp coriander
    1/2  tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1 cup frozen corn
    1/2 cup vegetable stock plus 1 tablespoon
    1/3 cup Anaheim chili pepper, seeded and diced
    1 4 oz. can chopped green chilis – drained
    3 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro

    Bean Sauce
    3/4 cup vegetable stock
    2 tablespoons onion
    2 tsp garlic
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1/2 tsp coriander
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    1/8 tsp pepper
    1.5 tsp dry sherry
    1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
    (plus reserved beans and liquid from above)

    2 2/3 cups marinara sauce
    6 sheets lasagna noodles
    2 2/3 cups mozzarella, grated
    1 cup lowfat ricotta (you can be more generous and use the whole container)
    1/4 fresh bread crumbs

    Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Measure 2/3 cup of beans and reserve the rest for later.

    Cook the rice.

    Roast the cumin and coriander in a dry skillet.Add cooked rice, stir in salt and pepper and let cool. Stir in corn, stock, peppers, chilis, cilantro and 2/3 cup black beans.

    Place 2 tablespoons of the vegetable stock in a saucepan. Add onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, sherry and sherry vinegar.  Simmer 3 minutes. Add tomato paste, reserved beans and its liquid. Cook additional 8 minutes. Process until nearly smooth, leaving some bits of beans intact.  Add remaining vegetable stock and cilantro. Reserve.

    Spread 2/3 cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9*13 backing dish.  Cover with one layer of cooked lasagna noodles. Spoon on half of the rice mixture and 3/4 cup of the bean sauce. Top with 1/2 cup of the ricotta cheese and 1 1/4 cup of the mozzarella. If you want, add more ricotta and use the whole container.

    Cover with another layer of lasagna noodles and 1 cup marinara sauce. Repeat the layering of rice and cheese. Top with the last layer of noodles. Press lightly to distribute evenly..

    Add last layer of marinara (3rd). Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and bread crumbs.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes. Let stand about 20 minutes before cutting.

    Spicy Black Bean Soup

    Spicy Black Bean Soup

    I put 2 TBSP of olive oil, heated in bottom of my stock pot. Then, I tossed in about 10 peppercorns and let them pop. Added 1.5 onions diced, 1 serrano pepper and 5 cloves of garlic crushed and cooked until softened. Then I threw in 2 ham shanks and added water until they were covered. Added 2 bay leaves. Covered and simmered for 30 minutes.

    After 30 minutes, I added 2 cups of rinsed black beans, salt, pepper and cumin and covered and let simmer for 1.5 hours.

    I removed shanks, let them cool and removed the meat from the bone and added meat back to the stock.

    Then I chopped up 2 sweet red peppers and tossed in along with 1 cup of frozen corn, overed and let cook for 10 more minutes. I removed the bay leaves before serving.

    Torsk & Green Beans

    Torsk is made with an Arctic or Alaskan Cod fillet. I melted 1/2 TBSP of butter in a sautee pan and put the fillet on to cook. After cooking for two minutes, I flipped it over and let it cook on the other side. I grated fresh nutmeg on the top, added some salt and pepper and let it cook for two more minutes.  Meanwhile, I took one cup of frozen french cut green beans and tossed them in a nonstick pan with 2 TBSP of Trader Joe’s Corn & Chili Tomato-less Salsa and cooked until done. I like my beans to still have a bit of bite to them so some people might want to start the beans before the fish if they like the beans more well-done.