Family Fresh Cooking – Chinese 5-Spice Harvest Chili

Secret Recipe Club

Wow, has it been a month already?  It seems like just last week I was doing my first Secret Recipe Club post.  It was so much fun that I came back for more.  Not only did I have fun, so did the Baby boy.  In fact he had so much fun making Southwestern Egg Rolls from The Freshman Cook, he wanted to cook for the next round.

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Hey, if you can get a teenage boy interested in cooking through SRC, you are one lucky mom!  I got my assignment and informed the Baby boy.  He’s on the iPad and asks, “who is it”, I said Family Fresh Cooking.  He starts to type in Family, then he goes, “Wow, she’s popular, it’s the first thing that came up”.  Then he went rooting around the site, and stated “I don’t think I should cook one of her recipes, I mean, she has a lot of followers”.  Kind of intimidating for a teenager, I mean what if they thought he did a bad job?

I assured him that this was about trying recipes from different sites and anybody with “family” in their title would be happy to see one of the kids cooking!  He was convinced and set about immediately to find a recipe.  He was sold on the Chinese 5 Spice Harvest Chili with Bison.  He loves Chinese and he loves chili.  The fact that we had temps in the high 80’s was no matter to him.

A little about Family Fresh Cooking, Marla is an amazing person!  Not only is she a mom, she is also a food photographer, stylist and writer, she also does recipe development and somehow manages to travel.  Oh, and guess who designed the badge at the top of this post?  Yep, she’s one talented lady.  What amazed me most about Marla is that she gets up at 4 am!  Hello, I’m not such a morning person (you won’t see me until after 7 am).  She seems to have boundless energy, maybe it’s all that healthy living.  Looks like I have a few things I could learn from Marla.

Trying to get the Baby boys schedule and mine to mash (read he’s never home), took some finagling.  I finally pinned him down on a cold rainy day…perfect for a bowl of chili!  What luck.  Only he started feeling sick, and pooped out on me after just a little prep time…

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I pressed on.  I made very few changes to the recipe (which you can see with the modified original below).  I used one of Marla’s substitute ideas, and used ground turkey instead of bison.  Bison was $8 a pound and the ground turkey was buy one get one free…what a deal (as long as we don’t get salmonella from it)!

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This is also the first time that the Baby boy had parsnips, I mean “white carrots”.  Really, I don’t know why I don’t use them more.  I enjoy their flavor and they are popular in Montana due to our short growing season.

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I also pulled out my three wimpy leeks that I planted year before last (they were a Farmer’s Market impulse buy at 10 cents each).  I’ve never grown leeks and had no clue what to do.  My leeks had kind of a bulbous end and upon peeling they broke off and there was my leek…which was more like a scallion.  I tasted the bulb part and it was not good…can it be used to replant?  Is that how it reproduces?  Any gardeners out there know?  Fortunately I had purchased some big girl leeks to supplement the meager 1/8 cup I ended with from my garden.

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As far as the recipe goes…it was delicious.  A unique and enjoyable flavor.  The 5 spice hits you first and then it’s rounded out by the nice tomato and chili flavor.  McGyver refused to call it chili and instead referred to it as stew, guess he’s too much of a traditionalist (he still loved it).  Whether you call it a stew or a chili, call it wonderful and make it!

Thanks Marla for a great healthy recipe, I’ll be making more for sure!

Chinese Five Spice Chili_091911

Chinese 5 Spice Chili with Turkey
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  1. 1 cup Chopped Leeks
  2. A few cloves chopped Garlic or 1 tablespoon Garlic purée
  3. 1 cup chopped Mushrooms
  4. 5 large Carrots, chopped
  5. 5 Parsnips, chopped
  6. 28 2 14.5 ounce cans chopped diced Tomatoes
  7. 6 ounce can Tomato Paste
  8. splash of Lemon Juice
  9. 1  2 cup Vegetable or Beef Broth or a few cubes of Bouillon with 1 cup water
  10. 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  11. 2 teaspoons Cumin
  12. 1 tablespoon Chinese 5 Spice Blend
  13. 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  14. Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste
  15. splash of Olive Oil
  16. 2 pounds ground turkey
  17. *Add an additional pinch of the above spices to season the meat, use the above measurements to add to the pot of chili
  1. In a large pot add a splash of olive oil, garlic and leeks. Over medium heat cook for a few minutes and add the measured spices. Cook until softened, fragrant and lightly browned. Stir occasionally. Add veggies. Cook to soften veggies for about 10 minutes while the meat browns. Stir occasionally.
  2. In a separate pan, add splash of olive oil, cook and brown ground meat. Add pinches of the above spices, stir to combine. Add cooked meat, chopped tomatoes tomato paste, broth and lemon juice to veggie pot. Stir to combine. Bring to boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer for about 1/2 hour or until veggies are cooked thorough. Add additional broth or water if necessary to thin out. Adjust seasonings to taste.
The Kitchen Witch



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41 Responses to Family Fresh Cooking – Chinese 5-Spice Harvest Chili

  1. Pam @ From Apples To Zucchini September 26, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    This sounds amazing! I love all of the twists and can just imagine how delicious this was! Fantastic pick!

  2. Melissa@IWasBornToCook September 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    I’m sure it was very unique. Looks interesting! Good choice!

  3. Julia September 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Beautiful pictures. Glad you convinced the boy to forge ahead and make this, well, until he pooped out on you 😉

    • Giggles September 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm #


      Thanks, I tried to do some nice photos since Marla is a food photographer. I have a lone ways to go to even come close to her beautiful pictures! I’ll keep trying though!

  4. Kita September 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    You make this chili look sexy! Love the bowls too!

    • Giggles September 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm #


      The bowls are adorable..little cauldron’s for the Kitchen Witch, hehe. I had a heck of a time finding them, turns out Lodge Logic sells them as a “Country Kettle”. I guess it is pretty country even though I was thinking witchy.

  5. Monica @ The Yummy Life September 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    I love Marla’s recipes, and your adaptation using turkey in this chili is a great one. Looks delish!

    • Giggles September 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm #


      I rely wanted to use Bison, it has great flavor, but ridiculous prices. Seems crazy to me that Bison is expensive when you live in Montana!

  6. Steph@PlainChicken September 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    The chili looks great! It is the perfect meal for a fall night.

  7. Eliot September 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Wow—I can finally comment on your blog without feeling guilty. I have been lurking around for some time, “Secret Pal.” I love that you got your son to help cook; that is fantastic he is excited about SRC! I also love those individual Dutch ovens. Where did you get them? Hope you have checked out my SRC post about YOU:

    • Giggles September 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      Seriously blushing…

  8. Kristy September 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    What a great post!! Awesome that your son is interested in selecting and preparing the recipe! Looks like he made a good selection, this chili/stew looks amazing!

  9. Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy September 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    That sounds so yummy; I just got a bottle of Chinese Five Spice, I had never used it before. I am inspired!

  10. cindy September 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I think my brother has some bison in his freezer! I’ll give him a visit and try this yummy looking chili/stew. I do love leeks, what a great flavor. Looks like a great recipe. It is still close to 80 but it will be stew weather in a week or two.
    Have a great day.

    • Giggles September 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm #


      It’s still over 80s here too. I just got lucky and we had a couple of cool days, perfect for the chili!

  11. veronica gantley September 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    What a great SRC post. Very interesting chili. Its is great that your son shows interest in cooking. My daugter does too. Now, if I can just get her to do the dishes when she is done. Thanks for sharing.

    • Giggles September 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm #


      We have a rule in our house, if you cook you don’t clean! Talk about motivation for kids to cook!

  12. Karen September 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Love the little soup pots! I think I’ve spent half the morning on recipes from the SRC… one just leads me to another, and another!

    • Giggles September 26, 2011 at 5:44 pm #


      I can’t tear myself away from the SRC posts. It’s like a personal mission to read each one, it’s almost noon and I haven’t even made myself coffee yet!

  13. Oma Lea September 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Looks Good! Must try some time: )))) Kudo’s to the Grandson : ))))))))))

  14. Tamar September 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    I’m obsessed with Chinese 5 spice powder (a brief search on my blog will prove it). I even put it in my Jamba Juice smoothies. I love the idea of putting it in chili.

    I’m a fellow Montanan (4th generation), living in exile in California wine country. LOL!

    • Giggles September 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm #


      I can’t ever imagine leaving my (now) beloved Montana, but to be in California wine country I might make an exception. But then again it might contribute too much to my wine drinking problem 😉

  15. Georgie September 26, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    I adore Marla too, I’ve been following her for a while. I’m so glad to meet you through SRC. Your choice to make 5 spice chili is perfect! We eat chili all year long regardless or tempature – it’s a an awesome hearty meal! I can’t wait to try your other recipes.

  16. Liz September 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    It’s great to visit your blog! Such a fabulous recipe from Marla…and I like your little tweaks! Gorgeous photos…and presentation of this wonderful chili~

  17. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz September 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    Glad I discovered your blog through the person who picked you. And I love the Asian chili combo ! White carrots LMAO!

  18. marla September 26, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    Rhonda….I am smitten by the post you guys created. I am so glad you guys love my Chinese 5 Spice Chili recipe. I can see why they might call it a stew. I think you photographed it beautifully. Makes me want to whip up a big batch of that chili right now. I love how involved your son is with the cooking 🙂
    Your Baby Boy is a Rockstar chef…can I hire him to help me out over here?? LOVE the cauldrons! xo

  19. Jey @ The Jey of Cooking September 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Oh wow, this sounds incredible! I’m addicted to Chinese 5 spice and never thought to add it to chili. YUM!

  20. Angie @ Bigbearswife September 27, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    oooo man what a great looking dish! You and your son did an awesome job! and I love love your photos!!!

    Glad to be in Group C with you!!

  21. Kim - Liv Life September 27, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    MMM!! I’m loving the flavors here, and your photos are awesome! Love the white carrots! We have a few things like that floating around our kitchen too.

  22. Kelly September 27, 2011 at 2:28 am #

    Oh wow this looks incredible and I just love your presentation! What a great post for SRC! 🙂

  23. Chris September 27, 2011 at 2:59 am #

    This looks ah-ma-zing! I don’t know how I missed this on Marla’s blog. Love love love…can’t wait until it gets cooler to make this. Thanks for a fantastic pic for SRC!

  24. Foodness Gracious September 27, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    Great SRC post and I love parsnip fries…
    Take care.

  25. Manu September 27, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    What yummy recipe! I love chili and this is a great version of it! I also really like your pictures, you are very talented! 🙂

  26. feast on the cheap September 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    So intrigued by the addition of the Chinese 5 Spice blend…

  27. Cathy at Wives with Knives September 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    How wonderful that your son likes to cook and will jump right in with a new recipe. Adding the 5-spice is a very interesting idea and I’m looking forward to trying it. We love chili in my house.

  28. Kitchen Belleicious September 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    What a new and fantastic way to do chili using the chinese 5 spice! I must try this recipe soon. Great job

  29. Lisa D September 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    This looks amazing! I love the 5 Spice Flavors and I would be more likely to use turkey than bison. I LOVE parsnips too. Yum!

  30. Chris and Amy September 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    A fantastic fall dish. Love five spice!

  31. Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} October 1, 2011 at 1:57 am #

    I adore chinese 5 spice. Never thought to add to chili – perfect. Glad to be part of the SRC group C with you! Have a wonderful weekend.

  32. newlywed October 10, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Looks great!

  33. organic Spices November 7, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    hi i am new to this site .i am going to try this recipe right now after seeing.hope comes out good.Thanks for sharing.
    Organic Spices