Turkey Chili, loaded with vegetables is easy and nutritious main course, perfect for a crowd on Super Bowl Sunday or for the family, as a weeknight dinner. Serve it with tortilla chips, over a baked potato or with corn bread.
This recipe can be made in a large, heavy duty pot but I prefer using a slow cooker. Preparing the chili the night before, then letting it slow cook all day for 4-8 hours, allows all the flavors to develop. Who wouldn’t enjoy coming home to a steamy pot, all ready to be consumed? In the words of Marie Kondo, this sparks joy in my world. I mean, I’ve “kon-mari’d” dinner into one pot, right?
This recipe uses lean ground turkey and loads up on vegetables. Unsweetened cocoa is the secret ingredient that adds depth and a “meaty” flavor, mimicking a traditional beef chili. As you may know, cocoa marries well with spices. I use four different chili spices: green chilis, Ancho chili, chili powder and a fresh Thai bird chili. Each contributes their own flavor and heat. The Ancho chili adds a little smokiness while the Thai bird chili adds a lot of heat. Since you may not have the option to pluck only one or two Thai bird chili peppers off of a plant like I did, you can simply increase the amount of chili powder. Be aware though, that most chili powder sold in the spice aisle, also contain garlic, salt and other ingredients. That might change the flavor of your chili. I also find that the amount of heat can vary from plant to plant, and from spice jar to spice jar.
The beans can be substituted for another variety or you may opt to use more of the same type of bean. You could even replace the roasted corn with chopped celery. Is there a wrong way to make chili? I casually asked friends what their secret ingredients in chili were. Their answers included riced cauliflower, peas, roasted tomatoes, roasted Poblano peppers, chocolate, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. I like to play with adding Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce too. Some people prefer beer over chicken or beef stock. Basically sky’s the limit.
* Note: You can always add more heat so start with 1 Thai bird chili pepper and 1 tablespoon chili powder. I prefer 2 Thai bird chili peppers and 1 ½ tablespoons of chili powder. As mentioned, most chili powder sold in the spice aisle, also contain garlic, salt and other ingredients so I prefer increasing the amount of heat with a fresh Thai bird chili pepper. Take care to wash your hands when handling and you might want to remove the seeds. It can be very spicy.
Serving size: 12
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 pounds of lean light meat ground turkey
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste, preferably from a tube which has a more intense flavors
- 1 – 2 fresh Thai bird chili pepper*
- 1 – 2 tablespoon chili powder*
- 1 teaspoon Ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 – 28 ounce good quality diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes, mashed
- 1 – 4 ounce can of fired roasted green chiles
- 2 bell peppers, diced (red, yellow, orange or green)
- 2 cups roasted frozen corn (can substitute with fresh roasted corn and plain frozen corn)
- 1 – 12 ounce can of kidney beans, with liquid
- 1 – 12 ounce can of black beans, with liquid
- 1 – 12 ounce can of garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 – 2 ½ cups of chicken stock (stock is richer than broth)
- Optional ingredients: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onion, diced onion, chopped cilantro, sliced Jalapeno peppers, tortilla chips, corn bread or baked potato
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and sauté diced onion, until translucent.
- Add ground turkey and sauté, breaking up the meat until just cooked through.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste and all the spices and sauté for a couple minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a nonstick pot of a slow cooker, add diced tomatoes, green chiles, bell peppers, frozen corn, beans and cocoa powder. Add the cooled and cooked turkey mixture. Then add the chicken stock and combine.
- Cover with the lid and refrigerate overnight, if preparing this the night before.
- Set slow cooker on low for 4 – 8 hours.
- Serve over baked potatoes, with a side of corn bread or topped with tortilla chips. Add shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onion, freshly diced onion, chopped cilantro or sliced Jalapeno pepper.
- To freeze, allow to cool to room temperature and freeze for up to 3 months.