Cincinnati Turkey Chili

Every time we go back to South Florida, my husband makes a bee-line to a place called Skyline Chili. It’s an establishment that originated in Cincinnati and it serves one thing: chili. You can get the chili over spaghetti noodles and topped with cheese (this is called a 3-way) or you can get it over small coney hot dogs. In my experience, people either love Cincinnati style chili or they hate it. It is very meaty and as you can see in the ingredient list below, it includes cinnamon and chocolate, which give it a distinctive flavor. I wasn’t a huge fan of it even back in my omnivorous days, but if the Irishman eats it, that means I generally feel compelled to find out how to make it myself.

While we can (and do) buy Skyline Chili from the freezer section of our local grocery store, as soon as I saw this recipe in my Cooking Light magazine, I knew I wanted to give it a try. I figured that it must be healthier than the freezer version and as an added bonus, it’s made with turkey instead of beef. To say that my husband was skeptical would be an understatement. He hovered in the kitchen while I was making it muttering things like, “I don’t recall Skyline having beans in it” or “Are you sure they put chocolate in there?” Natrually, I chased him out of the kitchen with my wooden spoon and threatened to feed it to the dogs if he didn’t pipe down. Anyways, here’s what you need:

8 oz. ground turkey
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green pepper
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Tbs. semisweet chocolate chips
salt and pepper to taste

**I didn’t have regular diced tomatoes, so I used a can of Rotel instead and decreased the amount of bell pepper in the recipe by half.

This recipe came together really quickly. Begin by coating your saute pan with cooking spray and browning your ground turkey. After the turkey is no longer pink, add in the onion, green pepper and garlic and saute that for about 3 minutes or so. Add in your spices and your tomato paste and stir it around until the tomato paste is fully dissolved. Finally, add in your broth, beans and your can of diced tomatoes. Bring the temperature up to a boil, then lower it to medium-low and simmer your chili for 20 minutes.

Since the Irishman likes his Cincinnati chili served up like a 3-way, I went ahead and cooked up some spaghetti while we were waiting for the chili to cook. Once the chili was done, simply add some noodles to the bottom of your plate, top it with the chili and then top the chili with cheddar cheese. As he assembled his 3-way, I was anxiously waiting to see his reaction. That’s the one downside to being a vegetarian – I can’t taste the dang recipe myself to see how well it’s seasoned! This means that I have to place my trust in someone else to tell me whether it’s worth sharing. The good news is that he was very pleasantly surprised at the outcome of this chili recipe. He was so pleased with it that he (kindly) asked me to double the recipe next time so that we could have it in the freezer. So, if you’ve ever wanted to give this particular style of chili a try – apparently this recipe is a keeper.

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2 thoughts on “Cincinnati Turkey Chili

  1. Jessica September 6, 2011 / 9:43 am

    ohhh, i love skyline chili (with about 1/10th of the cheese they serve you) this is different than my cincinnati chili recipe, i’ll try it! p.s. you should try to make it with the morningstar crumbles, I bet it would be good

    • dailycynema September 6, 2011 / 11:27 am

      Good idea, I’ll definitely try it with the crumbles next time (or make 2 batches and do a taste test)!

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