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Geri Hupp | Deep East Texas EC

During cold weather, there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of something hearty to warm your bones. This month, our readers shared a wide range of chilis, soups and stews, adding a few Texas variations, to boot.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced red peppers
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
2 pounds ground turkey
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon each ground cumin, cumin seeds, oregano and salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 2/3 cups beef broth
1 cup tomato purée
3/4 cup Mexican beer
1 can whole kernel corn (12 ounces), drained
1 teaspoon honey


2 cups coarsely crushed saltine crackers
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup warm water


2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided use
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. FILLING: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the onion, peppers, jalapeño, garlic and parsley flakes; and cook, stirring until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey and cook, stirring until browned.

2. Add the seasonings and cocoa powder. Stir until the meat mixture is evenly coated with spices. Pour in the beef broth, tomato purée and beer, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the corn and honey, and simmer an additional 30–40 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. While the chili mixture simmers, prepare the cracker pie crusts.

4. CRUST: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch deep-dish pie dishes. Use your hands to combine the crushed crackers, cornmeal, vegetable oil, shredded cheese and warm water in a large mixing bowl until a coarse “dough” forms. Divide the mixture in half, and then press each half evenly into a pie dish. Bake the crusts 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool briefly on wire racks.

5. Remove bay leaf from chili mixture. Sprinkle ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese into each warm pie crust. Divide the chili mixture between the prepared crusts, sprinkle the remaining cheese over pies, and bake 10–15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand about 5 minutes before slicing.