When it comes to Thanksgiving turkey, bigger is always better.  This year’s 24-pounder yielded a holiday dinner for 7, more than a gallon of stock, and easily a week’s worth of leftovers for my family of four and my in-laws as well.  Today my mother-in-law made turkey, chickpea, and sweet potato curry, and I made a simple turkey soup with barley and this hearty chili.

Making chili is a good way to use up small amounts of assorted dried beans lurking in the back of your pantry.  If you don’t have any, or want a quicker-cooking chili, you can use canned beans.  6 cans, rinsed and drained, should yield the proper quantity for this recipe.

Turkey chili

Yield:  4 -4 1/2 qts.

1 1/2 lb. dried beans, soaked overnight (I used Great Northern and pinto)

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 Spanish onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp. ancho chili powder (or more or less, to taste)

1 tbsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled

2 qts. turkey or chicken stock (or use part bean cooking liquid)

1 15-oz. can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes

6 c. shredded, cooked turkey

Juice of 1-2 limes

Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Salt, to taste

Drain beans and place in a large saucepan.  Cover by 3-inches with cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil hard for a few minutes, then reduce heat and skim froth from surface of water.  Cook beans at a bare simmer until just tender, about 40 minutes to a little over an hour (depending on type and age of beans).  Season generously with salt and continue cooking 10 minutes longer.  Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid.

Warm a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Drizzle in oil, then add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and tender, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt and stir in garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  Cook another two minutes.  Add oregano, beans, and bean-cooking liquid and/or stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook 20 minutes more or until beans are very tender.

In a food processor or blender, puree a few cups of the soup, then return puree to pot.  Stir in tomatoes, turkey, and juice of 1 lime.  Taste, adding additional lime juice and salt as needed, and serve.

Chili keeps well in the fridge up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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