Apple Cider Chili

By Ann Fulton

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Today, I have the great privilege of sharing with you a guest recipe by Phoebe Canakis. Phoebe and I became acquainted through Fig magazine for which we are both contributors. With memories of dinner around the table that were created on a budget and not from a box and with roots in a Greek heritage, Phoebe creates some of the most palate-pleasing yet healthy, whole foods. Inspired by seasonal, wholesome ingredients, Phoebe brings the garden to the plate with humor and passion. Minus the Greek heritage, I feel a certain kinship with Phoebe, and I am pleased to call her my friend.

You can find Phoebe at her blog, Phoebe’s Pure Food, and take a peek at Phoebe’s Pure Food Magazine and Pantry where you will find savory and sweet gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, whole food recipes and products from small local businesses. You can also pop over to her Facebook page and say hello. But now, without further adieu, I offer Phoebe and a recipe that is sure to warm your sole…

When the fall and winter chill settles in and we reach for warm, snuggly blankets and socks, you know it’s time to break out the favorite soup recipes. At least, that’s how it works for me. I love this recipe because it’s easy and it’s stick-to-your-ribs but in a good way, easy to adapt to vegetarian and seasonal to boot.

This one is a no brainer and you’ll want to save it, tweet it and make it over and over. As per usual, you do not need to follow the recipe to the “t.” By that I mean it is easy to adapt to a vegetarian recipe or use what you have in your pantry. Substitute the meat with mushroom (dried or fresh), a wild rice blend, quinoa, millet, a variety of beans or tofu crumbles. I also skip cumin and chili in this dish, but add it to taste, if you like.  My husband, Dan, and I enjoy the slight hint of sweet from the cider and butternut squash. Extra heat can come from cayenne or a sprinkle of hot sauce.

Seriously do what you like with this recipe. If you don’t have butternut squash but can use sweet potato or another winter squash, then use it.   Spread your cooking wings with this one! You can do it!

Just a few more tips:

  • You won’t use the whole can of tomato paste so you’ll want to scoop out tablespoon size portions onto waxed paper and freeze it.  Once frozen put in a sealable bag to use for later.
  • Often when using pasta or rice in soups the starch will continue to cook, absorbing liquid, even when removed from the heat; I don’t mind that but you might.  You could cook the rice separately and add what you like to each portion just before serving.
Apple Cider Chili
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cubed butternut squash
  • 28 ounce canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 1/5 cups broth
  • 2 cups local apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 can corn kernels or 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1 can beans or 2 cups beans
  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper
  • Pepper to taste
  1. In a 6 quart pot, over medium heat, sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add the ground turkey, thyme, oregano and worcestershire sauce and cook into crumbles, stirring the vegetables with the meat until browned, 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the butternut squash, tomatoes, broth, cider, tomato paste and rice and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the corn and beans, cover and simmer for a remaining 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with a topping of fresh cheese, avocado, a dollop of non-fat greek yogurt or diced tomatoes.
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  1. Diane

    I only used 2 cups of broth and had plenty of liquid (actually more than I really like to have in a chili…seems more like a soup) Also needed to cook longer than the time indicated to allow the brown rice to fully cook. I did like the flavors and will make it again sometime but will tweak the recipe more to my liking.

    1. Ann

      Thank you for the comment, Diane. I think Phoebe would encourage people to adapt the amount of liquid to their preference, as some people like a soupy consistency, and some like it thicker. She will be delighted to read that you enjoyed the flavors and will be making it again sometime!

    2. Phoebe

      Hi Diane,
      Yes, cooking rice or starches in soups can be funny. When I make mine it often gets very thick but I prefer it that way. I’m glad you tried it and you will again, Diane. Please adapt to your taste, that the pleasure in soups!
      all the best, phoebe