Leftovers. What a terrible word – it even SOUNDS unappetizing.
How often can one reheat and eat even the most delicious food? Something is invariably lost in the process… Mr. Food Nerd is particularly averse to leftovers, and not being fond of the same reheated dinner myself, I have found ways to turn one meal into another. It is one of my favorite kitchen tricks.
Today’s kitchen adventure makes good use of leftover turkey and some staples from the pantry – on the menu? Black Bean and Corn Chili
Black Bean and Corn Chili
- 2-4 cups leftover turkey (or chicken) shredded
- 1 Onion diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic chopped finely
- 1 Bell Pepper diced
- 1 28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 sm can tomato sauce
- 2 Cans Black Beans (not drained)
- 2 Cans Kidney Beans
- Preferred chili seasoning, used per package directions (You can also use salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, thyme and paprika etc. to taste)
- 1 Can Corn (drained)
- Olive Oil
- Cheese for garnish
Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add one tbsp oil and sauté onions, garlic and peppers until softened. Add shredded turkey (chicken, beef or pork can easily be substituted) and stir until heated through. Add pre-mixed chili seasoning or spice mixture of your choice (following package instructions for measurements) and stir until fragrant. Add can of tomatoes and can of sauce, stir until combined. Add undrained beans to pot and heat until liquid boils – then reduce heat to low, add can of drained corn, and let the chili cook slowly until flavors are combined and the liquid has thickened slightly – at least 20 – 30 minutes (stir occasionally!). Serve chili topped with cheese and a side of cornbread (or on top of fritos, whatever you like or have on hand!)
I love this recipe, because you can adjust it as needed. Almost any leftover meat can be used in this way (Just make sure the flavors of the original dish are complimentary to the chili spices – for example, I would not use leftover teriaki chicken for this dish). Also – keep in mind that any leftover veggies can be incorporated into the chili. I have done this a hundred different ways – adding diced fresh zucchini and minced carrots to the onions and peppers early on in the cooking process, adding chopped roasted veggies when I added the corn, even adding in some baby spinach just before serving one time! The point is to use whatever you have on hand in whatever quantities you have it – this chili will never be the same twice!
Do not be afraid to add an extra can of beans if you have a lot of meat, or to otherwise adjust measurements as you go. Just remember to taste the Chili as it cooks and adjust the spices or other elements as needed to accommodate any substitutions you may have made.
This chili is even better reheated (if you can believe it), and can easily be turned into nachos if you still have it around in a day or so! (Wait – I may save that recipe for a whole different post) 🙂