Moroccan Turkey Chili
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds 93% lean ground turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ras el hanout *
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
½ red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch chunks
½ yellow bell pepper, cut into ½-inch chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (12-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (12-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- In a slow cooker or large skillet (if you’re using a slow cooker set first to sauté function, and if you don’t have a sauté option, then use a skillet), warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Turn the slow cooker to Low (transfer everything to the slow cooker now, if you’ve been using a skillet), add the ras el hanout, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, and oregano and stir into the meat, letting it all absorb. Add the diced tomatoes with juices, broth, 1 cup
water, and the tomato paste and cook for 2½ hours.
- Stir in the sweet potatoes, bell peppers, celery, and zucchini (these vegetables are best whent hey are a still a bit crunchy, that’s why I add them later). Add the beans and chickpeas, cover, and cook on Low until the sweet potato is tender, about 2 hours more. If you like more heat to your chili, you can add a pinch of red pepper flakes.3. Top with the cilantro when serving.
NOTE: The total time to make this recipe is 4 ½ hours, using a slow cooker on Low.
NO SLOW COOKER? NO SWEAT. If you don’t have a slow cooker, do not despair. This recipe can easily be made in a Dutch oven or large soup pot, simmering over medium-high heat in half the time. Just add the sweet potatoes midway through and save the crunchy veggies and beans for the last 10 minutes.
* RAS EL HANOUT is a North African/Moroccan spice mix. You can find it in Middle Eastern stores or online, and it’s becoming fairly common in mainstream American grocery stores as well. It’s a mix of more than a dozen aromatic spices, so if you are a purist and want to make your own, try blending ground cardamom, ground cloves, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, ground ginger, ground chile, ground coriander, black pepper, ground turmeric, ground mace, fenugreek, paprika and—if you like a hint of licorice—a tiny pinch of ground fennel seeds. (You can also grind the whole spices and then combine them to make the spice mix.) Toast the mixed blend in a small skillet over low heat to boost the flavor and aroma. Ras el hanout is fantastic on all meats as a seasoning or rub, and adds a really warm and inviting flavor. I especially love to use it in chili, stews, and soups or Middle Eastern tagines. I’ve read that in Morocco they actually believe it is an aphrodisiac spice, so use it liberally.
Want all of my recipes to yourself in one place?
Grab a copy of At Home with Natalie and they’ll be yours for life.