Saturday, 9 March 2013

25K & Slow Cooker Turmeric Chili

Ran 25 kilometres this morning. Pleasantly tired. It was the longest of the Saturday morning training runs leading up to the "30K Around the Bay" race in Hamilton in two weeks. The weather this morning was very mild, but very foggy for the first hour. Then the sun broke through and it was absolutely spectacular. Crisp, cool air, about 6 degrees C. Eight of us started out, and six of us did the long route. Early on we broke into two groups. Afterwards, after high-fiving ourselves for completing yet another Saturday of pounding the pavement for two-plus hours, we all went our separate ways to enjoy the rest of the day. For me, that included showering, changing into cozy clothes, eating, drinking wine, napping, reading, making a quick dinner in the crock pot while husband and son went to soccer practice and teenaged daughter had a nap (teenagers get tired a lot, don't they?), having an epsom salt bath (sore legs) and changing into even more comfy clothes. I started wondering what I was going to post, and then I thought, a recipe. Why not? So here's my own version of a chili I came up with, using whatever I had on hand. Curiously enough, I didn't have any chili powder. My picky husband loved it.

Slow Cooker Chili-less Chili or
Turmeric Chili or 
What to Make for Dinner After You've Accomplished a Long Run or Another Tiring Physical Task and You Don't Really Feel Like Making Dinner But If You Don't Your Family Will Starve or Eat Cereal Again:

(All are approximate measurements. I love chili because it's so forgiving.)

500 g extra lean ground beef (or chicken, or turkey)
2 or 3 Italian sausages
1 can Romano beans
1 can black beans
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
I cup sliced mushrooms
one or two handfuls of baby spinach
2 540ml cans of diced tomatoes
1 small tin tomato paste
Generous sprinkling of turmeric (about one or two tblsp)
Small sprinkling of black pepper
Small sprinkling of sea salt or salt substitute
Small sprinkling of red pepper flakes
A little canola or olive oil

Cook all the meat until browned in a bit of canola or olive oil (I peeled the skin off the sausages and kind of crumpled them up with the hamburger), drain and put in the slow cooker. Saute the garlic, onion and mushrooms for a few minutes and add them to the slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. (This is when I realized I didn't have any chili powder so I used this awesome orangey-yellow Indian spice called turmeric instead.) Result, after a couple of hours in slow cooker on high: My husband said, "I think this is probably the best chili you've ever made." So there you have it. Chili-less chili!

I looked up Turmeric. The University of Maryland Medical System says studies have shown turmeric, which has been used for 4,000 years to treat various conditions, "may help fight infections and some cancers, treat digestive problems and reduce inflammation." Perhaps I should rub some of it on my sore legs....

The Mother Nature Health Network has an article on "The Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric." It can be read at

Oh and of course, red wine also goes very well with chili-less chili, especially after a long run. We happen to like wines from Chile - go figure. Cheers!

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