Chillier Weather Ushers in Chili Season

Colder weather, football season and chili seem to go together naturally. Chili is an easy-to-make comfort food and has the potential to be quite healthful. This week’s recipe capitalizes on the healthiest aspects of traditional chili – the beans and vegetables. It’s so satisfying, you could easily forgo the turkey and make the dish totally vegetarian.

There are hundreds of different versions of chili. In the United States, we frequently think of Texas-style chili, commonly referred to as “a bowl of red.” Loaded with ground beef and piled high with cheese, this favorite of the Lone Star State is heavy in calories and saturated fat. Our version keeps the rich flavor of traditional chili while avoiding the unhealthy components.

This chili’s hearty bean base is flavored with plenty of garlic, onion and spices. Affordable and easy to prepare, beans are a great source of fiber. Diets that feature foods high in fiber have been associated with improved blood sugar management as well as successful weight loss programs. There’s also evidence to suggest that eating fiber-rich foods may lower your risk of certain types of cancer.

While this recipe contains a long list of ingredients, it is surprisingly simple to prepare and can be adapted easily to highlight any of your favorite flavors. Chili is great for a big crowd and keeps well in the refrigerator. Serve this hearty and satisfying meal to warm your friends and family on the coolest autumn nights.

Note: This recipe can be found in AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook, available in bookstores.

Three-Bean Chili with Corn and Turkey - Makes 8 servings.

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 cups chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp. chili powder

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. cinnamon (optional)

3 cans (15 oz. each) of 3 different types of beans (such as kidney beans, black beans or chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1 cup frozen or drained canned corn

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 cup low sodium tomato or vegetable juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 cups (about 1 lb.) diced cooked turkey

Hot sauce (optional)

4 cups cooked brown rice

In a large, deep pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, garlic and bell pepper. Sauté about 4 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, the garlic is golden and the bell pepper is softened. Add the chili powder, cayenne, cumin, oregano and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in the beans, corn, tomatoes and tomato juice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, partially covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in the turkey and simmer until heated through. Adjust the seasonings by adding more salt and pepper and hot sauce, to taste. Serve over cooked brown rice.

Per serving: 435 calories, 8 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 62 g carbohydrate, 29 g protein, 13 g dietary fiber, 581 mg sodium.

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offers a Nutrition Hotline online at www.aicr.org or via phone 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, MondayFriday, at 1-800-843-8114. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will respond to your email or call, usually within 3 business days. AICR is the only major cancer charity focusing exclusively on how the risk of cancer is reduced by healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and weight management. The Institute’s education programs help millions of Americans lower their cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. Over $82 million in funding has been provided. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

Aticle Posted: October 17, 2007

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