In my opinion, every home cook should know how to make a good chili. With its hearty beans and spicy sauce, it's a comforting American classic that can be served at many different functions, so it's insane not to have a recipe (or three) in your repertoire. It's easy to adjust the quantity of a chili recipe, it travels well, and the stuff is a genuine crowd pleaser. If you are short on time and skill, try my beginner recipe, and if you have time to soak the beans over night, practice with the expert recipe. Choose which one suits your needs when you

Beginner Turkey Chili
From Kraft Foods

1/2 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes, undrained, cut up
1 jar (16 oz.) thick 'n chunky salsa
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (15 oz.) great Northern beans, drained, rinsed
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese

  1. Cook ground turkey in large saucepan on medium-high heat until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add tomatoes, salsa, beans and seasonings; mix well. Bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve topped with cheese.

Serves 8.

Expert Turkey Chili
From Emeril Lagasse

1/2 pound dried navy beans, picked over
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons Emeril's Southwest Essence, recipe follows
1 2/3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons cornmeal
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (10-ounce) cans Ro'tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles (original), undrained
2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles, undrained
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Sour cream, for serving
Grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, for serving
Chopped green onions, for serving

  1. In a large kettle, soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches overnight.
  2. Drain beans in a colander and return to kettle with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Cook beans at a bare simmer until just tender, about 1 hour, and drain in a colander.
  3. In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion and jalapeno until soft and beginning to caramelize, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the ground turkey, Southwest Essence, chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until turkey is browned and cooked through, 6 minutes.
  5. Add the cornmeal and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken broth, canned tomatoes, canned chiles, and cilantro stems and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. After it has cooked for 30 minutes, add the cooked beans. Add the heavy cream and cilantro leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes longer.
  8. Serve the chili in deep bowls, garnished with dollops of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and green onions to taste.

Serves 4-6.

Emeril's Southwest Seasoning:
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.