Saturday, January 19, 2019

T is for: Turkey Buffalo Chili

Last January, I successfully made it 24 days of the Whole30 Diet, coinciding with a dry January. I made things like Thai Cashew Chicken with Cauliflower Rice and Gluten Free Italian Wedding Soup. Overall, I'd say it was a success, I lost some weight and overall got a nice healthy reset.

Which was completely reversed when we then boarded a plane south to spend 4 days in  Jamaica eating jerk chicken and drinking all we could at an all-inclusive resort.

It's all about balance, right?

Fast forward to January 2019... I failed miserably at dry January (I think I made it 10 days), and I'm definitely not doing Whole30... BUT, I am trying my best to eat as healthy as possible. Pair that with the cooler weather, and that equals me craving the comforts of a nice, hearty chili. Last weekend, I kept it more traditional with a beef and bean chili, but this weekend I wanted to recreate a recipe of one of my former co-workers, Joe Kosa (he also inspired my grilled clams post this summer.)

I love this take on traditional chili, because it utilizes some of the classic flavors of a plate of Buffalo wings (celery, carrots, blue cheese, wing sauce) and combines it into a healthy chili. I used ground turkey (since I'm on the letter "T" and all), but you could use ground chicken or even chicken breasts or thighs for a shredded-meat style chili. While I still used some traditional chili spices, I didn't use as much because I didn't want it fighting with the heat and flavor of the Buffalo sauce. (In Joe's original recipe, he only uses the paprika, so feel free to omit the chile powder and cumin if you want.)

I started with a couple strips of bacon to add a little flavor and serve as my fat for sautéing the vegetables. If you don't eat pork, or you'd like to keep the calorie count even lower, then you can simply omit and sub with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Just set your multi-cooker to the "saute" function and fry up the bacon pieces until almost crispy.

Justin patiently took photos of each step of this process, like he always does, but in the end I realized it was just a bunch of photos of me dumping things into the pot, which is completely unnecessary. Just know that this recipe is suuuuper easy and mostly involves throwing everything into your pressure cooker.

A couple other "Jaymee additions" to this recipe are tomato paste (in place of sauce) and chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. I love the umami flavors of both in chili, so I wanted to incorporate into this recipe as well. Because I only need a little from each can and I hate wasting things, I like to freeze whatever I don't use in silicone ice cube molds, and then transfer the frozen cubes to freezer bags for future use. To do this, I measure out about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste for each "cube" and one chile pepper with adobo sauce per cube... that way, they are pre-portioned and ready to go in a future recipe!

Perhaps the most important ingredient in giving this recipe its signature flavor is Buffalo sauce. I have become sort of obsessed with the New Primal Buffalo sauce, and it comes in three different heat levels (mild, medium and hot.) It also has no added sugar, so it is perfect if you are sticking to Whole30, paleo or keto diets. I also really like Frank's Red Hot Wing Sauce. Whatever you go with, I would recommend a more prepared "sauce" over a hot sauce.

You could definitely make this on the stove, but one thing I really love using the pressure cooker (or multi-cooker or instant pot) for is chili because it develops those simmer-all-day flavors in a very short amount of time. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I'm obsessed with my Breville Fast Slow Pro multi-cooker... which is basically just a fancier version of an Instant Pot. They both essentially do the same thing, so if you already own an Instant Pot, just use that! I cooked mine on high pressure for 9 minutes. (It will take longer to come to pressure, probably 10-20 minutes.)

While chili is cooking, whip up a quick chipotle lime crema. It's literally just sour cream (or creme fraiche or both), along with some lime juice, a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, a touch of cumin and salt. I love mixing this into my chili, or as a topping for tacos! Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

After it finishes releasing the steam, I add the beans and reduce the sauce to help thicken it up a bit. (There's an an actual "reduce" function on the Breville... on an Instant Pot, you can just use the "saute" function with the lid off to reduce to your desired thickness.) If you are doing Whole30/Paleo/Keto, then skip the beans and just go straight to reducing the chili.

Ladle into bowls and garnish away! Definitely don't skip the blue cheese crumbles, as it adds to the Buffalo wing flavors (unless of course you're doing Whole30 or Paleo or you don't like blue cheese.) I also did sliced jalapenos, cilantro, green onions, lime wedges and carrot ribbons. I think avocado would be a nice add-in as well, but I didn't have any on hand.

What's your favorite kind of comfort food when you're also trying to eat healthy?! I would love to know in the comments section!

Buffalo Turkey Chili

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: pressure cooker soup/stew entree chicken turkey blue cheese buffalo wing sauce Super Bowl Tailgate winter fall

Ingredients (4 large bowls)
    For the chili:
    • 2-3 slices bacon, sliced (optional, sub 1-2 tablespoons olive oil if not using)
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 1 cup peeled and diced carrot (about 1 large carrot)
    • 1 cup finely diced celery (about 2-3 ribs)
    • 1-2 jalapenos, ribs/seeds removed and finely diced (only if you’d like to add more heat)
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon smoked, sweet paprika
    • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken (could also sub boneless chicken breast or thighs)
    • Salt & freshly ground pepper
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 1/2 to 3/4 cup wing sauce (not hot sauce), depending on taste preference (I use New Primal Buffalo Sauce)
    • 1 can stewed, fire-roasted diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 can beans (kidney, black or cannelini), drained and rinsed (omit if doing Whole30/Paleo/Keto)
    For garnish:
    • Blue cheese crumbles (omit for Whole30 or Paleo)
    • Cilantro
    • Green onions, sliced on bias
    • Jalapeños
    • Carrot ribbons
    • Avocado slices or cubes
    • Chipotle Lime Crema, recipe follows OR sour cream (sub plain Greek yogurt for healthier option or omit for Whole30 of Paleo)
    For the Chipotle Lime Crema: (omit for Whole30/Paleo)
    • 1/2 c sour cream or creme fraiche (can sub plain Greek yogurt for healthier option)
    • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (with a little sauce)
    • Juice from 1/2 lime
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • Salt, to taste
    For the chili:
    1. Set your pressure cooker (or instant pot) to "sauté." Once hot, add bacon (or olive oil if not using bacon.) Sauté until bacon is starting to get crispy.
    2. Add onions, carrots, celery and jalapeño peppers. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until just starting to get soft. Add garlic and cook another 60 seconds. Add paprika, chile powder, cumin, tomato paste, and chipotle pepper and stir. Cook a couple more minutes to eliminate the "raw" taste from the spices and paste.
    3. Push the vegetable mixture to the edges and add the ground turkey or chicken. Season meat with salt and pepper and sauté until the meat starts to brown, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. (If using chicken breasts or thighs, season before adding to the pot and just sear the outsides of the chicken... Remember, the meat doesn't need to be completely cooked at this point, as it will finish cooking in the pressure cooker.)
    4. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, bay leaf and 1/2 cup of the wing sauce (you can always add more sauce later if needed.) Close the pressure cooker or instant pot, secure lid, and set it to high pressure for 9 minutes. (It will take 10-20 minutes to come to pressure.) Once cooking has finished, release steam via the quick release method (on an instant pot, switch to the venting position.)
    5. Remove the bay leaf, stir in the drained beans and set pressure cooker to "reduce" or "saute" depending on the model you are using.  (If you used chicken breasts or thighs, remove and shred with two forks and return to pot.) Reduce with lid off for 5-10 minutes, or until chili is desired thickness. Taste for flavor and add more wing sauce (or salt & pepper), to suit your preference.
    6. Ladle into bowls and top with desired garnishes, such as: blue cheese crumbles, cilantro, green onions, jalapeños, carrot ribbons, avocado slices, lime wedges, sour cream or Chipotle Lime Crema, recipe follows.

    For chipotle lime crema:
    1. Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
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