This spicy chickpea turkey and tomato stew is so warming and healing!
Why is it that a big pot of spicy stew makes me smile so much?
Do any of you feel the same way?
Whether it’s chili or hot and sour soup or a spicy meat and veggie concoction, just the smell of it makes me happy. Maybe that’s why a huge pot of chili is often on my stove. Or, maybe it’s because I love football and all of the traditional foods associated with the game. I’m sure it’s partly because a big pot of simmering goodness is the perfect foil for my Chinese herbs.
But it’s mostly because it’s just so yummy! And warming! And filling!
Whatever the reason, this stew came together because I had a hankering for chili, but it wasn’t football Sunday. So, what’s a cook to do? Lots of times, I just make the chili anyway, but this day I felt like something a little different… more like stew I thought… or maybe a touch Moroccan… I just felt like taking regular chili to another level… a little more gourmet if you will (does that sound too snooty???). Since I was only cooking for a few people instead of a regular big football crowd, I figured I’d experiment. And a successful experiment it was!
I love cooking down the aromatic ingredients and then shoving (literally shoving) as many leafy greens as I can into the pot and watching them melt into the gooey goodness in the pot…
“Pots of stuff” or “stews” are great because you can add in whatever you like and whatever your body needs at that point in time. Here’s some of what I put in this gorgeous pot:
Turkey is a healthy meat. Make sure you buy organic, pasture-raised turkey for the highest nutritional benefits. Recent research has shown turkey helps lower the risk of pancreatic cancer; however I did read some research that suggests that if you eat the skin along with the meat, some of this value is reduced, so don’t eat too much skin — this recipe uses ground turkey so it has no skin involved… Turkey also has a great protein-to-fat ratio, so it keeps you feeling full with less potential for weight gain. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B and selenium.
In my acupuncture practice, some of my favorite conditions to treat are stress, anxiety, and depression. I’m also always looking for foods that will add to the effectiveness of these treatments. Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular…
Most people think of Popeye (am I dating myself??) and iron when they think of spinach. It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.
In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections. This recipe has canned chopped tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes — double whammy!
Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; the onion can actually draw the toxins out of the body!
Chili powder is rich in vitamins A and C and also in essential minerals. Spicy pepper is one of the most nutritious spices available. Consuming small amounts gives you a great source of potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium. Spicy peppers have been shown to ease the pain of arthritis and muscle soreness.
Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.
I love to add my Chinese herbs to anything that simmers on the stove for awhile. This time I added some Bai Shao. Bai Shao is white peony root and it’s great for yin deficiency (think menopausal symptoms…). If you want more info on this herb, just ask…
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric (just found this one-- I'm buying it for next time!)
- ½ tsp (or more if you like more spice) chipotle chili powder (here's one I use a lot)
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika (this one sounds good - let's try it!)
- 20 oz canned chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup sliced sun dried tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 5 oz baby spinach
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute 2-minutes.
- Add the turkey, season with salt and pepper, and stir for about 3 minutes, or until it is starting to get some color.
- Add chili powders, turmeric, and smoked paprika. Cook, stirring, until no longer pink.
- Pour in canned tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Add chickpeas and bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low and add the spinach. Let the spinach wilt and stir until it is all well combined.
- Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes or until it's hot and smelling amazing.
- Ladle into bowls. Enjoy!