Turkey Chili with Pesto

I got three packages yesterday.  Is it strange/sad/weird that this made me ecstatically happy?  I have always loved getting mail.  As a kid, I’d run out to the mailbox to retrieve those precious letters even though most of them were bills and/or addressed to my parents.

That’s another bonus of being an adult, most of the mail is for me!!  Except it’s mostly bills and junk mail…but they’re my bills and junk mail.  With my name on it.  So there’s a little nugget of insight into what makes me unconscionably happy; mail with my name on it and bunny yawns.

How old am I again?  Old enough to make chili experiments and be targeted by credit card solicitations.  But let’s focus on the former of those points.

Pesto is a fabulous summery spread, made fifty times better when you can use the fresh produce becoming available as the season pushes forward.  Putting it in a chili might not be the first thing that comes to mind, and I’ll admit that I was slightly skeptical as to how pesto would lend its flavors to this dish.

But it worked, and pretty well at that.  The original recipe called for chicken breast cut into tiny pieces, but that seemed like a lot of work to me, so I used ground turkey instead.  It also seemed to be a more appropriate meat to use in a chili.

I love when odd combinations turn out well.

Turkey Chili with Pesto

Adapted from Cooking Light: Annual Recipes 2003

Makes 4-6 servings

2 tsp olive oil (or other neutral veg oil)

1 pound ground turkey

1 medium onion, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1 tsp oregano

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

one 16oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

14 oz chicken stock

¼ cup pesto

 Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add onion and turkey and sauté for 5 minutes, breaking up clumps in the ground meat.  Add carrots and sauté for another 4 minutes.  Add the spices (including salt and pepper), beans and stock, and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.  You can take the lid off for the last 10-15 minutes if you like your chili on the thicker side (like me).  Turn off the heat, stir in pesto and serve!

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