Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hearty Lentil Chili....

Continuing on our path to better eating, I perused some lentil recipes on the Taste of Home website a couple of weeks ago. I came across several recipes that sounded really good and finally got around to making one last night: Lentil Chili. I tweaked it a little bit in that I made it thicker by adding a slurry of flour and water and I also added a can of butter beans. I’d have added more beans, but for some crazy reason, I was down to just the single can in my pantry. I let the chili cook quite a bit longer than the 30 minutes the recipe called for as it took right around 50 minutes to an hour to get the lentils as tender as I wanted them – and they still had a bit of a bite. Best surprise about this recipe – the hubs loved it! He said it was great as well as a ‘keeper’ which was terrific to hear because this recipe has just 278 calories and 5 grams of fat for a cup and a half and an unbelievable 12 grams of fiber! This was so good and perfect for the windy, rainy weather we’ve been having – snuggle up to a hot bowl soon!
A few other ingredient changes I made... I used turkey sausages with the casings removed because it's what I had on hand rather than regular ground turkey meat. Turkey sausages come in all sorts of flavors so if you go this route, pick a fun flavor to give your chili extra zip! I also had a partial container of beef broth to use up - it measure out to just under two cups, then I just filled in with the chicken broth. Lastly, besides the slurry I said I made to thicken up the chili and the addition of the butter beans, I added a good tablespoon and a half of freshly minced garlic - gotta have garlic in chili. You can add or remove these items from your chili as you please :-)

Hearty Lentil Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
**I used turkey sausages with the casings removed
1 can (49 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
**I used 16 oz beef broth and filled in the remainder with chicken broth
2 cups lentils, rinsed
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour whisked into 1/3 – ½ cup water
1 15 oz can butter beans - rinsed

Heat olive oil in a large pot and cook turkey meat until no longer pink. Drain and set aside. Drain and rinse butter beans and set aside as well. Cook onions and garlic in same pot for about 4 minutes over medium heat, season with salt and pepper. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, broth, lentils and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer 30 minutes. If you want your chili thicker, add the slurry and let boil once again. Return chili to a simmer for another 20 minutes. Check tenderness of lentils - if to your liking, add in turkey and butter beans then heat just another 5 minutes or so until entire mixture heated through. If lentils still have too much bite, continue to simmer, covered, checking every 5 or 10 minutes, adding the meat and beans once lentils are tender.

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