Barley Turkey Chili

It finally feels like fall here, thanks to yesterday's cold-front, and I have welcomed the cooler weather with open arms - and another soup recipe! This one (which I slightly adapted) is from "Soup and Ladle Favorites" - a cookbook put together by local Pennsylvania dietitians. On the ingredient list, you will find ground turkey (a lean meat choice), barley (a whole grain), and water (as opposed to high-sodium broths). I know what you're thinking...healthy ingredients = bland and boring. Not so!! The onion, peppers and garlic meld with the spices to make a very flavorful soup. And the turkey, beans and barley give it the heartiness you desire in a bowl of chili! It's perfect to serve on game-day or simply to warm you up on a chilly fall day. I served the chili with cornbread and topped it with shredded cheese and sliced green onions (I love the flavor and slight crunch that the green onions add!) A very filling meal that I'm sure you and your family will enjoy!

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey (or ground beef, if you prefer)
3/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 of a green bell pepper, diced
1/2 of a jalapeno pepper (seeds removed), diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups water (at least)
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, undrained
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste - reduced sodium, if available
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
Desired toppings such as low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, fat-free sour cream & sliced green onions

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add turkey, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Cook and stir until turkey is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain, if needed.

Add water, undrained kidney beans, tomato paste, barley, chili powder, parsley, mustard, cayenne pepper and paprika. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer for 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally and adding more water, as needed, to make it the consistency you desire.

Season with salt and pepper and serve with desired toppings. Makes about 4 servings.


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