Amazing Turkey Chili

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Comforting Turkey Chili

I am a chili lover, especially when the weather is cold and dreary.  To me chili is comforting, and I  love its warming spices and heartiness. I often make a boatload to share with family and friends (plus it freezes well).  Even with this single recipe, we have enough for a few dinners or lunches plus I serve the extra chili on top of giant, split opened baked potatoes or on top of leftover brown rice. 

My Chili Meander is fantastic for a beef-based chili, but for some reason I have been in the mood for turkey.  This recipe was mentioned in the New York Times food section and I recalled filing it in my “save for later” folder.  I did embellish and change quite a few things, and this is what I ended up making. 

Chili is pretty forgiving so you can make it your own.  It takes very little time to cook and I guarantee it will hit the spot for you and your loved ones.  As they say in Guatemala, Buen Provecho!

Amazing Turkey Chili

Yield: About 6 large servings




(I usually make one and a half times this recipe, a HUGE pot full so I have some to gift. Just sayin’…) 

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, combo white and dark meat if you can find it although just ground breast works too
  • 1 large coarsely chopped brown skinned onion (½-inch pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 large sweet red or yellow pepper, cored, deveined and coarsely chopped the same size as the onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery (I also chop some of the celery leaves)
  • 1 cup cubed peeled butternut squash, ½ inch
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced 1/2 inch
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cored, deveined and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp dried cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth (I use Chicken Better Than Bouillon to make the broth unless I have some homemade chicken stock)
  • Salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • To garnish (pass separately) – shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plain Greek yogurt, pickled jalapeños and sliced avocado

Heat the oil over high in a large heavy soup pot and add onions, garlic, sweet pepper, celery, cinnamon, cocoa, brown sugar, squash, corn, carrots, jalapeño, oregano, bay leaves, chili powder and cumin. Stir to blend well and  cook for 5 minutes.  Add the turkey meat. Cook until lightly browned, about 5-10 minutes, chopping down and stirring with the side of a heavy kitchen spoon to break up any lumps.

Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Add the drained beans and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes longer. Serve in bowls with Cheddar, and sour cream or Greek Yogurt on the side, if desired. Accompany with corn bread and honey.The chili is pretty thick so add more broth if you want it more “soupy”. 

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