Turkey Chili

In Chinese medicine, diseases can either be caused by a disharmony inside your body (things like aches and pains) or an invasion of something from outside your body (like catching a cold).  When something is invading from the outside, it goes through two distinct phases.  In the first phase, the pathogen is on the "exterior" and has only just entered your body.  You have an aversion to cold, and probably want to bundle up in sweats or curl up under lots of blankets.  In the second phase, the pathogen has sort of made your body its home and moved in to the "interior."  During this phase you probably feel an aversion to heat, and throw off your blankets while you sleep.

Now I know you're probably wondering what all this has to do with turkey  chili.

Well yesterday in class I started to feel the tell tale signs of an on coming cold.  My throat felt scratchy, my face felt flushed, and my body just didn't feel....right.  I didn't have time to go to CVS much less get sick, so instead I decided to utilize some of that info I'm paying so many tuition dollars for.  When the pathogen is in the exterior (as mine was) you have a unique opportunity to get rid of it before it sets up camp and stays for weeks.  It's chilling just under your skin, which conveniently is also where your "wei qi" (the equivalent of your immune system) functions.  By consuming warming herbs and bundling up, you can get your wei qi to push the pathogen out of your pores with sweat.  Essentially, at the beginning of a cold you can, in theory, "sweat it out."

Yesterday was disgusting and rainy, and while I'm not sure chili pepper flakes technically count as a warming herb, chili seemed like a delicious solution to both the gloom and getting my wei qi pumping.  I'd never made chili before, so I modified this recipe and couldn't have been happier with the results.  I piled on a couple of sweatshirts and inhaled AT LEAST two delicious and hearty bowls.

And in case you were wondering...I woke up today feeling perfectly healthy :-)

Turkey Chili
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
7 oz salsa (about half a jar)
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes or coarsely chopped tomatoes packed in puree
1 (7 oz) can chopped green chile peppers
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
Green onions
Cheddar cheese

1) Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in the bottom of a large stock pot over medium heat.  Crumble in ground turkey and break up with a wooden spoon. Season with taco seasoning, coriander, oregano, chili pepper flakes, and tomato paste.  Mix until turkey is evenly coated with the seasonings, and continue to cook (reducing heat if necessary) until it is well browned.
2) Pour in chicken broth and simmer until slightly reduced (about 5 minutes).  Add salsa, tomatoes, green chiles, black beans, and kidney beans and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Adjust thickness if you feel necessary at any time by adding water.
3) While this is simmering, heat a separate pan with the remaining tbsp of vegetable oil and cook onions and bell pepper until onions are translucent and bell pepper is tender.
4) Add onions and bell pepper to the chili and continue to simmer for 15 or more minutes.
5) Garnish with chopped green onions and grated cheddar cheese.

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