For some time I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect chili recipe. I’ve tried all manner of things: used chocolate or cocoa powder, canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes, bought expensive chili powders, slow cooked meticulously chopped up bits of sirloin, read up on the subject in numerous cookbooks. The results were always disappointing–leaden, muddy, and dull. I’d eat a few bowls grudgingly and the rest would go in the garbage. The other week I went to my office Super Bowl party and had a chili that was hearty, delicious, and bright tasting. Imagine my surprise when I learned from my secretary (she made the chili) that the secret was a humble can of Campbell’s tomato soup. On top of it tasting great, it’s actually not that bad for you. She made it in a slow cooker but I’ve adapted the recipe for the stove top since I don’t have a slow cooker. It comes together in a matter of minutes. Since the strength and freshness of chili powders and spices varies widely from brand to brand, the measurements given are approximate. Adjust to your preference.
Tomato Soup Chili
1 large yellow onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
2 tbsp. chili powder (I used Penzeys Chili 3000)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp. cayenne (I like my chili spicy)
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 can of Campbell’s condensed tomato soup + 1 can of water
1 16 oz. can of drained red kidney beans (light or dark)
1. In a large pot, saute the onions until they start to soften. Add the ground turkey and brown, breaking up the meat as it cooks. After the turkey is brown, add the peppers and garlic. Saute until garlic is fragrant. Add the salt and spices and stir to coat. Cook one minute.
2. Add the diced tomatoes, condensed tomato soup, and 1 can of water. Stir and bring to simmer.
3. Add drained kidney beans, stir, and cover. Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if necessary.
4. Serve with your choice of toppings. I enjoyed mine with a generous handful of chopped scallions and avocado, a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, and some multi-grain tortilla chips.
Makes 4-6 generous servings.