turkey chili

Tailgating, watching the football game at home, or, forget football, maybe you’re just lamping out on the couch catching up on your back-logged DVR?  Whatever your “Sunday fun-day” revolves around, this hearty chili should be your sidekick.  Joe stumbled upon this recipe one Fall weekend a couple years ago and it’s the only chili we’ve bothered with since.  Infused with the smokey and fiery tones of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a robustly flavored Mexican lager, it’s a surefire way to take the chill out of the blustery days ahead.  Plus, have you noticed all of the colorful garnishes on top?  From green onions to jack cheese to avocado, there are endless directions you can take this dish.

We were fortunate enough to score tickets for this weekend’s Giants-Dolphins game and had a rock star crew that threw together an impressive tailgate smorgasbord including today’s chili recipe, a decadent cheese fondu, parmesan and parsley flavored sausage pinwheels, grilled chicken, turkey burgers, and brownies.  Not too bad for some rookies!  Anyhow, I decided to double this recipe, so we’d have plenty for the game as well as leftovers for this week’s lunch.  It traveled and reheated well.  However, here’s a nugget of tailgating wisdom:  flat pans work best on grills when preparing hot food.  Silly me brought a pot that wouldn’t allow us to close the grill’s lid and, consequently, a lot of heat was lost in the gusty winds.   You live, you learn.  Check out some pics from our tailgate below.

I like to serve the chili with a piece of toasted crusty bread for dipping, but tortilla chips would also work well.  I’m thinking of tossing in some corn and chopped bell peppers next time to up the veggie factor and add texture and color.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

30- Minute Turkey Chili
Recipe by Food Network Test Kitchens
Serves 8

6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
4 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 chipotle chile en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 2 Tbsp. sauce
2 pounds ground turkey
2 (12-ounce) Mexican lager-style beer
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
2 15 1/2-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Optional garnishes:  sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, avocado, sour cream, grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, crumbled bacon, chopped fresh tomato, lime wedges

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile and sauce; cook 1 minute more. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes–crushing them through your fingers into the skillet–along with their juices and the beans; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with your favorite garnishes.  I like it best with a generous helping of Monterey jack cheese, oodles of cilantro, and green onions

A few notes:

  • If you like your chili on the saucy side, stick with the ten minutes of simmer time.  If you prefer something more substantial (I do), double the simmer time to twenty minutes and re-assess.
  • I was on a meat boycott at one point last year.  I guess I just needed a break.  Anyhow, I made this recipe with crumbled firm tofu in place of the ground turkey, added more beans, and popped in some veggies like mushrooms and zucchini.  While the turkey definitely adds something to the dish, the flavor foundation is really found in the onions, garlic, chiles and beer.  If you are a vegetarian, you will most certainly enjoy this variation.
  • We use Negra Modelo beer.  Loaded with flavor, but doesn’t overpower the dish as a darker lager sometimes can.

12 Responses to “turkey chili”

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  1. Joe says:

    This is the best chili ever. I’m pretty happy I’m lucky enough to be eating it for lunch all week 🙂

  2. Cassandra says:

    Perfect recipe for the ground turkey in my freezer! <3

  3. BridgitRomano says:

    Oh my goodness…this is the best chili I’ve ever had or made!! I did take your suggestion and add corn. Made it for a group of friends and they raved about it…definitely a keeper!! Thanks

    • KarmaCucina says:

      So glad you enjoyed! And thanks for letting me know about the corn. I’m definitely going to toss it in next time

  4. Liz says:

    Delicious recipe, not to mention healthy & very easy to follow! The lager I had in the fridge worked great (thanks for the help with that yesterday). I have a feeling Mike will be asking me to make this every weekend!

  5. Judy says:

    Would it be possible to use the leftover turkey from thanksgiving? I usually make turkey soup but I am always looking for new and different ideas for the “traditional” leftovers.


    • KarmaCucina says:

      Hmm… that’s a good question. I think anything is “possible,” but this might be less than ideal. My only concern is tough turkey after it cooks even further in this soup. In an effort to prevent that, you may want to add the turkey with the beans. I really can’t give an honest answer as to how well this will work out, so if you do experiment with it, please let me know! I’m always looking for new ideas for leftovers and this could be interesting.

  6. Julie says:

    Alyss–I made this over the weekend w/ ground chicken instead of turkey—it’s amazing! Ryan and I are LOVING it. btw-Mil made it last week and felt the same–the whole family loved it!! great post!


  1. […] + Turkey Chile *note: I added a poblano pepper, and instead of using chipotle pepper I just used the adobo sauce. I have learned that all of that is too spicy otherwise and ruins the meal. The adobo sauce was just enough of a kick! […]

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