See Sister Make Greek Chili

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I think it is wonderful that the first recipe I am posting on this blog is for Greek Chili as I believe it is the one and only recipe I am ‘known for.’ This doesn’t mean it’s a recipe I invented. It just means I’ve made it enough that some of my friends and family may think I actually created it.

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But the truth is, the recipe was given to me my Junior year of college. I lived with the girls above plus two others (who couldn’t make it to my wedding and thus I can’t easily find a picture of them) in a house we called The Jireh House. We kept crazy college schedules but once each week we all gathered to eat dinner. Two girls were responsible for cooking, two for cleaning and the other four got to relax and just eat.

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But one week we had a problem. Dawn and I got paired together to make dinner. No we were not dressed for a wedding when we had to make dinner, but again, I can’t find a good picture of us from back then.  Anyway, we might look normal enough here, but in college, Dawn and I had a mantra – “Responsibility is a four letter word.” Brilliant, no? So it was no surprise, that on the morning of our cooking day we still had no idea what to make for dinner. Dawn worked at a coffee shop on campus so she came up with a brilliant plan – she’d go to work and ask everyone who ordered if they knew a good recipe.

She mostly got blank stares and a few suggestions of “just make some Ramen noodles.” Until one wonderful girl wrote down the recipe for Greek Chili. From memory. And she famously said “Make this. Everyone will love it.” We did and they did.

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Over the years I’ve made a few tweaks (at the bottom of this post I will share both the original recipe and my version) but the basic recipe is the same and I’ve found that in general, despite a few of it’s less-than-popular ingredients (read: black olives), her words ring true – whenever I make it, everyone loves it. Including my kids.

Here’s how it all goes down…

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To start, heat up some olive oil on medium high heat in a large pot. For the record, I always make at least a double recipe. We LOVE to have Greek Chili for leftovers. While the oil is heating, chop up a medium-sized onion and add it to the pot. Cook until the onion appears translucent.

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Add your ground turkey and as it starts browning up, add the thyme, pepper, oregano and garlic powder. I actually use more thyme than the original recipe says and garlic salt instead garlic powder cause I think it adds more flavor/ saltiness/ goodness for my soul.

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Decide to become friends with your can opener (you’ve gotta open several cans for this recipe) and add the tomatoes. The original recipe says to use a can each of Italian style stewed and Italian style diced. But I don’t like huge stewed tomatoes floating around in there so I started buying two cans of Italian Style diced tomatoes. Then I made it once for my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) who is allergic to corn. Turns out they often sneak a little bit of corn products into Italian style tomatoes. So I made it with regular diced tomatoes and just added a little bit of Italian seasoning from my spice cabinet. Worked like a charm. This also saves busy moms like me some time as I use diced tomatoes in other recipes and this way I don’t have to remember to buy special tomatoes for just this recipe.

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Drain your olives and toss them in there. Drain and rinse your chickpeas and toss them in too. We actually found that we like fewer chickpeas than the original recipe so I cut the amount of chickpeas in half for my version. I like to add the bay leaves at this point although you could add them in earlier.

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Drain your artichokes and chop them coarsely or finely as your heart desires. My heart desires big ole chunks.  Then add those artichokes in!

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Anyway, once your ingredients are all in there, turn the heat down to simmer and let it sit for at least 15 minutes for all the flavors to really blend together. I like to flatten off the top and push the ingredients down under the sauce so that the chickpeas and olives get softer and absorb the flavor of the tomatoes and spices. Is there a technical name for that?

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If at all possible, invite a super cute amateur cellist to play while you wait.

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Then serve it up. Ideally with feta cheese on top and pita chips on the side. I think those two take Greek Chili from amazing to supercalifragalisticexpialidocious, but there was a time in my life where I couldn’t do dairy so I know it’s fine without feta. And I often forget to buy/make pita chips to go with it so I can speak from experience that the soup stands alone if you don’t have those sides.

That’s it!  Now go. “Make it. Everyone will love it.”

GREEK CHILI – THE ORIGINAL RECIPE INGREDIENTS

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium sized onion
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
2 bay leaves
1 (15 oz.) can Italian Style stewed tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can Italian Style diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can artichoke hearts in water (drained and chopped)
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 (8 oz.) can sliced or chopped black olives (drained)
feta cheese (optional)
pita chips (optional)

GREEK CHILI – THE BETTER RACHEL VERSION INGREDIENTS
***Notice that it’s doubled in size from the original!***
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium sized onion
2 lb ground turkey
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp garlic SALT (more flavor and saltiness than powder!)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
4 bay leaves
4 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) cans artichoke hearts in water (drained and chopped)
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 (8 oz.) can sliced or chopped black olives (drained)
feta cheese (optional)
pita chips (optional)

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3 thoughts on “See Sister Make Greek Chili

  1. Sarah says:

    I have never had this, I guess it’s time for me to try it.

  2. […] she gives me a tour of her living quarters on Skype, she has very bare walls. As Dawn Bonker (of Greek Chili fame) once told me, “You’re never fully moved in until you have something on the […]

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