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Save turkey leftovers for easy chili

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Did you have turkey for Christmas? If you have leftovers, be sure to ready this column from 2010 and give this chili a try.

My sister was visiting at Thanksgiving and told me about this wonderful new turkey chili she had made. She suggested we save out three cups of shredded turkey and freeze it for the Cooking Light chili.

We did just that.

A week or so after Thanksgiving, I thawed the turkey, and in a short time after work one evening threw together this very easy chili.

Before making it, though, I read some reviews and made a change or two based on other cooks’ recommendations and on my family’s preferences.

The recipe calls for three cans of Great Northern beans, which are white.

I wanted to add a little variety to my chili, so I followed a suggestion and used one can of black beans along with two cans of Great Northern beans. I also cut back on the spices because I don’t normally like spicy foods, but when I make it again, I’ll probably add as much cumin and chili powder as called for.

I did add a little more tomato, cutting two roma tomatoes. Next time I’ll probably add even more because we liked the texture and color they added to the chili.

I added the fresh cilantro to my chili; it’s the first time I’ve ever cooked with cilantro. I didn’t particularly like the smell of the cilantro on my hands after it was chopped, but I threw it in my chili pot anyway. I didn’t especially like the taste, either, and I’m thinking I’ll leave it out when I make the recipe again.

When it came time to serve our chili, my husband and I added a dollop of reduced-fat sour cream and a sprinkling of shredded Mexican cheese. Wow! These two ingredients added so much flavor to the chili.

The chili smells so good cooking and lived up to expectations. My husband and son gobbled it down; so did I.

In reading reviews, I noticed that several people often cook a turkey breast just so they can have turkey to make this recipe. After my first bowl, I could understand why!

I considered saving this recipe until next November, but I decided my readers need to be making it this winter! So for those of you who cook turkey for Christmas, save out three cups of shredded turkey and make this delicious and good-for-you chili soon.

Lisa Boykin Batts has been writing a weekly food column since 2001. Her column includes recipes she and her family enjoy.

White Bean Turkey Chili

Try something different with this Cooking Light recipe.

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 cups diced yellow onion (about 2 medium)

1 1⁄2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained*

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

3 cups chopped cooked turkey

1⁄2 cup diced seeded plum tomato*

1⁄3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 lime wedges (optional)

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden. Add chili powder, garlic and cumin; sauté for 2 minutes. Add oregano and beans; cook for 30 seconds. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes.

Place 2 cups of bean mixture in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan. Add turkey, and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. Add diced tomato, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

* Notes: I used 2 cans of Great Northern beans and 1 can of black beans, all rinsed and drained. I used 2 plum or roma tomatoes, and next time I’ll use more, probably to equal at least 1 cup. We garnished our soup with light sour cream and a blend of Mexican cheeses.

Cooking Light