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Story - Food

Feb 12, 2018 6:58 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Chili And Meat Loaf Made With Ground Turkey

Feb 13, 2018 11:48 AM

It’s February, it’s cold, and we want comfort food! Meatloaf or chili immediately comes to mind. A healthy choice of protein to satisfy this yearning is ground turkey.

To make an award-winning Turkey Vegetable Chili, first brown the meat, then sauté the vegetables, herbs and spices together to intensify the flavors, and finally add the beans and tomatoes. Chili is not soup; the mixture should loosely hold its shape in a spoon. If it’s watery, simmer the chili until it thickens. To deepen the color and enrich the taste, add bittersweet chocolate. But not milk chocolate. Feel free to spice it up with your favorite chili peppers. If fresh jalapeño chili peppers are unavailable, use canned jalapeños (aka chipotles.)

Small bowls of freshly chopped white onion, avocado and fresh cilantro leaves are the perfect toppings.

There’s nothing better than a good meatloaf. This healthy turkey meatloaf is my favorite. I recommend doubling the recipe and freeze the extra for another time. The “secret” to a flavorful meatloaf is sweating the vegetables and herbs together before adding them to the meat. Be sure to chill the vegetables before adding the turkey. Another “secret” is searing a small patty of the raw mixture before forming it into a loaf. This offers you an opportunity to taste and adjust the seasonings before it’s too late for repair. Save time and energy by sticking potatoes in the oven to bake alongside the meatloaf. Meanwhile, toss a green salad to complete the menu for dinner tonight! Bon appétit!

Turkey Vegetable Chili
(Serves 6-8 with leftovers)

About 2 tablespoons avocado oil or more as needed

2 large leeks, white parts only, washed and chopped

1 and 1/2 pounds ground organic turkey

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 carrots, peeled and cut into medium dice

3 stalks celery, cut into medium dice

2 fresh jalapeño chili peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped or more to taste

1 teaspoon chili powder or more to taste

1 teaspoon roasted cumin

1/2 to 1 teaspoon oregano, to taste

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Red pepper flakes to taste

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 can 28.5 ounces crushed tomatoes

1 can 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes

1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated

To prepare:

In a large heavy saucepan over moderate-high heat, coat the bottom with oil. Add leeks and sauté until they begin to soften, about five minutes. Add turkey meat, salt and pepper, stirring often to break up the meat until browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, celery, jalapeño peppers and sauté briefly, adding more oil if necessary. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes and sauté until the vegetables are crunch-tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and black beans.

Add crushed and diced tomatoes, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, stirring to blend the chili. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the chocolate and taste again. Reduce the heat and simmer until the juices are thickened it has reached the proper consistency of chili, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Remove from heat, bring the chili to room temperature and refrigerate overnight or up to two days. Store in freezer if longer.

Healthy Turkey Meatloaf
(Serves 4)

About 2 teaspoons avocado or coconut oil

4 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped, or more to taste

2 tablespoons ground sage, or more to taste

1 tablespoon marjoram or more to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional: 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal, soaked in 1/4 cup water

Optional: 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

1 and 1/2 pounds ground turkey, preferably organic

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 can 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, preferably organic

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Generously coat the bottom and sides of a 12-by-3-and-1/4-inch loaf pan with oil and set aside.

Working in the food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade, add celery, carrots and coarsely chop. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic and chop until all the vegetables are finely chopped.

In a nonstick skillet with a lid over moderate-low heat, coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil. Transfer the vegetables to the skillet and slowly sauté, adding sage, marjoram, salt and pepper until the vegetables begin to soften but not brown. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Cook/sweat the vegetables until they are soft and tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl, spreading them out and cool to room temperature or place the bowl in refrigerator to chill. Meanwhile if using oatmeal, add water to the oatmeal and let stand while the vegetables chill. (Oatmeal will add fiber and body to the meatloaf.)

Add turkey meat (Optional oatmeal and sundried tomatoes) and egg to the vegetables. With rubber-gloved hands, mix the meat, vegetables, and eggs together until blended.

Shape a heaping tablespoonful of the mixture into a small patty. In a skillet over moderate-high heat, drizzle a few drops of oil and sear the patty until browned on both sides and thoroughly cooked. Taste and adjust the seasonings. When the meat is seasoned to your taste, shape the mixture into two equal-sized oval loaves and place them in the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, pour tomatoes with their juices over the meatloaves and return the pan to the oven. Continue baking until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes longer. Let rest about 10 minutes before cutting into slices. Note: A slice of cold turkey meatloaf smeared with mustard makes a great sandwich for lunch!

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