weeknight chili

weeknight chili

There was a time when my husband thought he had married a hoarder. When we were first married, I was just learning to cook. I was never very interested in really cooking. Lasagnas with pre made ingredients, chocolate chip cookies and the occasional taco made the rotation but that was about the end of it. Whether it was my new domestic role or the fact that we moved to a city that seemed to find it's very life and breath in the quality of food it produced, I'm unsure, but I rapidly became obsessed with cooking and baking and eating. Along with my new hobby came the collection of supplies, gadgets and cookbooks. I was sucked into all sorts of silly things that were largely unnecessary, but my cookbook collection was really starting to form and when I say form, I mean form a problem. When I had filled all the shelves we had, my husband, very sweetly I'm sure, suggested I have a "one in, one out" rule. Now, I know some of you can sympathize with me on this. I thought that was a terrible idea. They all brought something unique to our kitchen, man. He was worried. I get that. He was afraid we would have to start making walkways through the stacks of books teetering to the ceiling and that we would start to find old pizza buried beneath them. Don't fret. I slowed down and I even got rid of a bunch for the sake of my husbands sanity. He was relieved that he didn't have to stage an intervention. I can't say the same for my mug collection. There may be an intervention any day for that one. 

One hutch in our house is basically dedicated to my current collection of cookbooks. I have to say, the fact that I can fit them all in a tiny little hutch is pretty darn good, don't you think? They serve as inspiration for our weekly menu planning and for recipes on occasion. Most nights, I'm throwing some things in a pot and hoping that my understanding of how flavors work together serves me properly. This setup can be a problem when I make something I really love because recreating it is difficult when I can't remember what I put in it.

Chili is the biggest culprit of my culinary amnesia. I don't think I've ever made chili the same way twice. The base is generally the same but each time it's slightly different than the one before. That's the great thing about a big pot of meat, beans and tomatoes, it's a blank canvas.  

This particular iteration is one of my favorites and the only one I've written down. The addition of the curry and coconut milk make it a bit more exotic and might make some die hard chili fans cringe (the addition of quinoa might do that, too), but I love the riff on an old standard. If I had more time, I would have served this over a baked sweet potato. 

weeknight chili

serves 8


  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, 93% lean
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 2 15 oz cans pinto beans, drained
  • 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes (I like fire roasted if you can find them)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cook according to package instructions
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 avocado diced


  1. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Drizzle in a bit of olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is getting soft, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey and the spices and cook until the turkey is almost cooked through, about 6 minutes. 
  2. Pour the beans and tomatoes into the pot and season with kosher salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Let the chili simmer for about 30 minutes if you're in a hurry and up to 45 minutes if you have some more time. The flavor will concentrate a little more the longer you simmer it. When you're ready to serve, stir in the quinoa and coconut milk. Top with red onion and avocado and serve.