Tequila Lime Chili

With things as busy as they are in my life right now, I’m all about slow cooker meals. When I plan our menu for the week I try to include at least one recipe that I can prep ahead of time and throw in the slow cooker before I walk out the door in the morning. It’s usually at least 10 hours before anyone is home to tend to the meal, but my slow cooker has a timer and will switch to “keep warm” after the requisite number of hours I’ve set it for. Even when making a recipe that calls for as few as 4 hours of cook time, I haven’t found that meals have suffered in quality being left on the keep warm function for 6 or more hours. Ah, the beauty of the slow cooker. It’s a total life saver right now.

Tequila Lime Chili

We buy a lot of ground turkey, and I’m always looking for new ways to utilize it. I came across this tequila lime chili a few weeks ago in one of my cookbooks, and loved the sound of the Mexican twist on plain turkey chili. Just a few days later, Josie posted it to her blog and said she and her family were big fans of the recipe, which made me doubly excited about trying it. The recipe does require some prep – it’s not as simple as throwing everything in the slow cooker and letting it do its magic unfortunately. That said, I spent maybe 30 or 40 minutes working on it one Sunday afternoon and had meals for a few days so I think it’s worth it. Shane and I both enjoyed the chili a lot, if I recall correctly we were gobbling it up when the kids came to our door on Halloween. The tequila and lime aren’t so subtle you can’t detect them, but they’re also not completely overwhelming. The recipe is adaptable in so many ways – you could definitely add more tequila and lime to really amp things up, you could add beans (they were in the original recipe, I took them out), and you can top with your favorite chili garnishes. It’s a definite repeat in our house this winter, great comfort food for sure!

Slow Cooker Tequila Lime Chili
adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

1 slice sandwich bread, torn into pieces
2 tablespoons milk
1 lb ground turkey
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
2 onions, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tequila (plus more for serving, if desired)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (plus more for serving, if desired)

To Serve:
sour cream, cheddar cheese, parsley or your favorite chili toppings

Use a fork to mash the bread and milk into a paste in a large bowl. Add the ground turkey, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and gently mix to combine.

Add the oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions, chili powder, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and browned.

Add the ground turkey mixture and cook until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up large pieces. Mix in the tomato sauce, using the spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Transfer everything in the pan to the slow cooker. Add the diced tomatoes (including their juice), 3 tablespoons of the tequila, the soy sauce, honey, and chipotle chile, stirring to combine. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the ground turkey is very tender.

Stir in remaining tablespoon of tequila, and the lime zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add additional tequila or lime juice if desired.