Happy Cinco de Mayo! This may not be a 100% traditional Mexican dish, but it is definitely inspired by one of my all time favorite Mexican dishes....nachos.
I have one word to describe this dish..... AMAZING!!! Chili and nachos in one bowl?!?!?! How can you go wrong? Now sit down. Are you sitting? You won't believe this! Wait for it...... these chili bowls are healthy!!!! We have a lean protein, sauteed with a small amount of healthy fat and lots of veggies. We then top it with a small handful of tortilla chips and a couple of ounces of cheese. This is one of those dishes that prove to naysayers that you don't need to pile on the fat to add flavor to food.
This is a recipe inspired by one of Rachel Ray's recipes. Say what you will about her, but you cannot say her recipes do not deliver. Not only is this meal healthy, it is inexpensive, easy to prepare, makes several generous portions and it is fast enough to prepare that you can get it to the dinner table in under an hour. You all know I am a huge fan of Ina, but her recipes are sometimes complex, expensive, time consuming and I usually end up with a sink full of dirty pots and pans. Rachel Ray is a little more conscious of saving time and money. In addition, RR has great tips and shortcuts that make getting a meal to the table quicker than ordering take-out. I swear it is true, it just takes a little planning ahead to make a quick, delicious and healthy dinner. Her pasta recipes are out of this world (look for her Spaghetti with Clam Sauce, Chicken Meatball Parm. Subs and Pasta Puttanesca recipes on the Food Networks website). Her family is Italian and her Italian recipes are fantastic!
Everyone in my family raved over this Buffalo Chili dish. One warning....this recipe is spicy. Personally, I like it spicy, but if you want to cut back on the heat, there are a few ways to do it. Obviously, you can leave the jalapenos off of the top. You could also substitute cheddar cheese for the pepper jack cheese. You could also cut back on the amount of chipoltes in adobe sauce that you add to the chili. This final suggestion would be my last choice as a way to cut back on the heat, because the chipolte chiles add a ton of smokey, tangy flavor to the chili, that you won't want to miss.
I would have definitely gone back for a second or third bowl if "sundress season" wasn't rapidly approaching us here in Atlanta. Stupid warm weather and the sleeveless shirts that come with it!!!! I certainly enjoyed my one, guilt-free bowl for dinner that night and for lunch the next day. Next time I will double the recipe, because we were all looking for leftovers two, three days later, but there were none. I would say you will get four generously sized bowls out of this recipe with leftovers for two lunches.
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Buffalo Style Turkey Chili Bowls
adapted from Everyday With Rachel Ray
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 pounds ground turkey (or ground chicken)
2 carrots, chopped
3 to 4 stalks celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
Salt and Pepper
1 small can chipotle chile's in adobe sauce
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock
A couple handfuls of thin blue-corn tortilla chips, such as Xochilt brand, lightly crushed
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese or shredded sharp cheddar
3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
About a palmful pickled jalapeno chili pepper rings
light sour cream
6 green onions, sliced thin
optional: sliced black olives
Heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook to brown, stirring to crumble. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable are softened, 10 minutes or so.
Place the chipotle and adobe sauce in a food processor or blender and puree. Spoon 2 rounded tablespoons into a small bowl and combine with the tomato sauce to make a chipotle-infused tomato sauce.
When the vegetables are tender, stir in the chili-tomato sauce and chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken and combine the flavors. THIS CAN BE DONE SEVERAL HOURS IN ADVANCE AND REHEATED BEFORE SERVING.
When ready to eat, switch on the broiler and position a rack in the center of the oven. Arrange bowls on baking sheet and fill with the buffalo chili. Top with an even layer of tortilla chips, cheese and jalapeno rings. Broil for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese and crisp the chips!
Sprinkle with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onions over the top.