Blue Apron: Spiced Turkey & Chickpea Chili with Chermoula, Labneh & Pita Croutons

20151001_155050So today was my first launch into making a Blue Apron recipe. The first recipe is a spicy turkey and chickpea chili with eggplant, tomato sauce and spices. The recipe had no glitches; and came together really quickly. Right off the bat, the flavor and texture combos were something I would have never thought of  – but that make sense. Crunchy red onion, soft chickpeas, heavily spiced turkey — with a delicious middle eastern cheese called Labneh – and toasted pita croutons. Not like any chili I’ve ever had, but oh my gosh! 🙂

Labneh is a rich, creamy cheese made from strained yogurt. (“Laban” is the word for strained, or “Greek,” yogurt in Arabic.) Mixed here with lemon juice and salt and pepper, it’s absolutely divine!

The recipe comes together very quickly and was incredibly flavorful! It is very onion centric – so if someone in your household doesn’t like chunks of onion, take 3/4 of the diced onion in a food processor and pulse into a paste. That will keep a strong onion flavor without as much chunks of onion in the recipe.

This is a great first impression for me from Blue Apron. The recipe made 6 cups of chili, easily tupperwareable into individual servings. (Yay, Portion Control!) and the toppings and the croutons keep well in tuppers as well. This recipe was a solid win!

In the recipe, you’ll see the spice blend. In the Blue Apron box is came premade and I just added it, but they are kind enough in the recipe to show the ingredients. However, most stores carry a pre-made “ras el hanout” blend – dried orange peel and Aleppo Pepper are usually available at cooking stores like SurLaTable or WilliamsSonoma; and are fun to have in the pantry to add a hint of something special.

Vegetarians: You could VERY easily adapt this with spiced tofu instead of turkey for a splendid meal everyone at your table would enjoy, vegetarian or not. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 10 Ounces Ground Turkey
  • 1 Pocketless Pita
  • Cups Chickpeas
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3 Tablespoons Labneh Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Turkey Chili Spice Blend (Equal parts: All-Purpose Flour, Ras El Hanout, Cumin, Coriander, Cardamom, Crushed Aleppo Pepper & Dried Orange Peel)

Directions

  1. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Small dice the pita. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Cut off and discard the stem end of the eggplant; small dice. Peel and small dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic; using the flat side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and stems.
  2. In a large, straight-sided pan (or large pot), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the pita; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and toasted. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pan.
  3. In the pan used to toast the pita, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the eggplant; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned. Add the ground turkey; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  4. Add the onion, spice blend, tomato paste and ¾ of the garlic paste to the pan of eggplant and turkey; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant and the onion is softened. Add the chickpeas and 2 cups of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Chermoula & Cheese Topping: While the chili cooks, in a small bowl, combine the labneh cheese and the juice of 1 lemon wedge; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine the cilantro, lemon zest, remaining garlic paste and the juice of the remaining lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in enough olive oil to create a thick paste.
  6. Divide the finished chili between 2 bowls. Garnish with the pita croutons, chermoula and seasoned labneh cheese. Enjoy!