I was in Auntie El's farm market last week, wandering aimlessly around while my husband inspected and contemplated the peanut butter display. I stopped in front of a large display of bean soup kits. My eye wandered over the endless iterations of soup and chili. How can there be so many types of bean and seasoning combinations? Suddenly my eye fell on one soup in particular. It was some kind of southwestern chili kit and I swore it said "mango chili". Mango chili? Now that sounded interesting. How was the mango flavoring added to the chili? Was there dried mango in the seasoning packet? Was the cook supposed to add fresh mango along with the stock or water? I picked up the bag to see exactly what is was all about.
Once I had the bag of beans in my hand, I made the awful discovery that I am surely going insane. The label said it was Southwestern Sante Fe Chili and it said nothing at all about mangoes. I had imagined the whole thing. I couldn't even figure out where I might have even mistakenly seen the word mango in there.
Maybe I'm not crazy. Maybe it was some kind of divine intervention because once I had the concept of mango chili in my head, I couldn't get it out. If it didn't exist, perhaps I should make it exist. Quite frankly the idea of mango chili sounded too delicious not to try.
Like most of my brilliant ideas that sound so incredibly original at the time (like dulce de leche tiramisu or coconut risotto) all it takes is two minutes on Google to find out that many other cooks have come up with a recipe before. My method for developing this recipe was to look at all of them, and then reject them all so I could start with a completely new recipe. There was no way I would use some of those recipes online. They used jars of mango salsa. I don't do jars!
I cooked ground turkey and then cooked some onions, jalapenos, and garlic. I seasoned the onions with cumin, and chipotle powder (because mango and chipotle go together like ramalamalama ka-dingiddy-ding-da-dong). I cooked down a large quantity of mango chunks and then added in a can of tomatoes. I wasn't sure if tomatoes were a good idea or not, but I figured if they didn't work, I would come up with a new recipe in the future. I used black beans instead of the pinto beans I usually use in my chili. I just liked the idea of a darker bean against the pale mango.
I think this would also be excellent with pork.
Turkey Black Bean Chili with Mango
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 1 Tbl olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbl chipotle powder
- 2 jalpeno peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 mangoes, cut into chunks
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained