Football Heartbreak Turkey Chili

There are things we learn at a young age:
-Look both ways before crossing the street. (I do this much less than I should.)
-Public nudity is “typically” frowned upon. (Unless you’re this girl.)
-Philadelphia sports teams will always break your heart.

I should’ve known things weren’t going to bode well for the Eagles on Saturday night once NBC played the first dubbed-over rendition of Carrie Underwood’s abominable NFL promo song. It’s one thing to ruin The Sound of Music and an entirely separate felony to ruin football. (Maybe my sick obsession with the ’90s precedes me, but I would give my appendix to have Hank Williams Jr.’s “Are You Ready for Some Football” bit back.) A couple hours of botched cable reception later, the Eagles’ season was over and I was falling asleep less than halfway into Kill Bill Vol. 2.

So despite the fact that the next day I finally had to wash my #81 jersey and come to terms with the fact that I won’t see Brent Celek for awhile, one Sunday tradition I can probably enjoy for the next couple of months at least (given this inexcusable Midwest weather) is this chili.

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I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention that this can be an any day chili; no crock pot required, no real need to have this going low and slow for hours. It makes more than enough for two, two-person dinners and IMO, the leftovers are even more comforting than the initial serving.

Any Day Turkey Chili
Makes 6-8 servings, depending on where your appetite falls on the Nick Foles-Bennie Logan hunger spectrum.

Adapted from Dinner: A Love Story:
1-1.5 lb ground turkey (beef or chicken will sub-in just fine)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1.5-2 bell peppers, chopped (go nuts on color choice)
1 clove of garlic, minced relatively fine
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can red beans
4 tbsp. chili powder
“Dashes” of: cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano and/or basil
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Adjustable amounts (or not) of hot sauce
Dairy toppings of your choosing (shredded cheddar, sour cream)

Start by choppin’ yo onions, peppers and garlic. I only recently realized that contacts actually prevent the whole onion/tears phenomenon. If you wear nothing and/or glasses you’re still S.O.L.

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Defrost your protein of choice, heat your olive oil in a pan and cook the meat until brown (or, like me, keep cooking it minutes after it’s already very clearly brown because salmonella is a real and present danger.)

Transfer the cooked meat (grease and all) to a large pot on medium heat. Add in the chili powder and stir until all of the meat is coated. Now, add everything else. All the vegetables, beans, spices. Say a few words and make it a polygamous wedding ceremony between each ingredient. Free love in the chili pot.

Keep stirring.

After turning the heat down to a low simmer, this really only needs 15-20 minutes of cooking. So, if it’s a Wednesday and you’re three weeks over due for a 20 minute rendezvous with a Jillian Michaels workout DVD in your living room, now’s the time to do that.

BUT, if it’s a lazy, freezing, morose, Eagle-less football Sunday and you have all the time in the world to waste before the work week reboots, you can keep that pot simmering as long as you’d like.

Serve with your chosen dairy toppings. Cornbread is optional, but skipping it is known to cause an inexplicable feeling that’s something missing in your life, right as you start drifting into REM sleep.

Fly, Eagles Fly.

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