Turkey Chili with Squash, Peppers, Spinach & Mushrooms

Time for another new to
me recipe which I made my own. This was a great warm, filling meal. Not 5 Star Gourmet, crazy good, just comforting home cooking and very easy to pull together. It all began when my daughter sent me a link to a turkey chili recipe on Mealime - my current fav go-to site.

I love soups and stews. I could eat them every day 3 times a day, so checking this one out was a no brainer.  In looking at their picture though, it seemed all one note in terms of look.  Very yellow-y orange.  I like a little more visual interest and I wanted to adjust the amounts to what I had in stock. So I used their basic recipe as a template and then mixed it up to make it work for me.

I added a bright red pepper instead of the green one they used. I personally like both the look and the flavour better.  Then I threw in baby spinach to add a green note and upped the turkey to 1 pound as that is the package I had.  I'd used up my white button mushrooms 2 days ago, so diced up the 2 good sized Portobello mushroom caps still in my fridge and tossed them in. I had a package of  diced squash in the freezer that filled in for the fresh and  I changed the cooking instructions to simplify the cooking process and only dirty one pan. 

While the recipe says ground turkey, be aware there are 2 choices - ground thigh or ground breast.  I had a 4-pack (1 lbs. each) of ground turkey from Costco in my freezer, so used one of those packages here. However it is not labeled one way or the other, so I'm guessing it's a mix of both. If you do get a choice here is what you need to know. The ground thigh meat has a little more flavour, but also a higher fat content. Ground turkey breast has less fat, but it's also a bit blander. In this stew either should work fine. The choice is yours. 

Below is how I created this dish tonight. Next time I might change it up again. If you want to check out the original Mealime recipe go to www.mealime.com/recipes/mild-turkey-chili-butternut-squash-bell-pepper-mushrooms/14000.  And as always, if you try this, don't be afraid to make it your own. Keep the changes small, but make them count. 

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Turkey Chili with Squash, Peppers, Spinach & Mushrooms
Serves good size 2

Ingredients -

2 T                      Olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2                      Med. sweet onion, diced
2 cloves              Garlic, minced or pressed
1                         Stick Celery, sliced
2                         Lg. Portobello mushroom caps, diced (or 1/2 lb. white mushrooms, sliced)
1                         Med. red pepper, cubed
1 lb.                    Ground Turkey Thigh (or ground turkey breast if you prefer)
1 C                     Chicken or vegetable broth
1                         398 ml canned diced tomatoes (with juice)
2 C                     Frozen diced butternut squash (or 1/2 fresh butternut squash peeled & diced)
2 C                     Fresh baby spinach leaves
2 tsp                   Paprika 
1 tsp                   Chili powder 
1 tsp                   Cumin, ground 
½ tsp                  Nutmeg, ground 
½ tsp                  Oregano, dried 
½ tsp                  Salt 
¼ tsp                  Black pepper

Instructions - 

Place large pot on stove over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic, celery, and mushrooms pepper and saute for just a few minutes, just enough to start them cooking.  Then add the red pepper and ground turkey. Mix well and continue to stir regularly while cooking. Saute until all pink is gone from the meat

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot - canned tomatoes including juice, broth, squash (see note below), spinach and seasonings. Gently combine making sure to push the fresh spinach leaves down into the broth.  The original instructions using fresh squash were to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. I did it a bit less - probably 12 - 15 minutes max.  As I used frozen squash, I was concerned it would get over-cooked and disappear. In fact, I might add it later next time.  However, this meant the canned tomatoes didn't get as incorporated into the stew as they could have been, but I enjoyed it regardless.

Serve in large soup/stew bowls with crusty bread or rolls. Enjoy!