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Turkey Chili

It’s January. Football season is winding down.

Only a few more weeks until National Chili Sunday.

Not familiar with National Chili Sunday?

They also play a football game called the Super Bowl on that day.

But don’t save this fabulous chili for one day only. It’s good stuff! Made with ground turkey and a variety of beans so you can feel good about what you’re eating as you spend the day lounging in front of the TV.

Here’s what you need:

Ground Turkey*, Red Bell Peppers, Onion, Garlic, CHOCOLATE!, Chicken Broth, Diced Tomatoes, Red Beans, Pinto Beans, Black Beans, Great Northern (white) Beans, Olive Oil, Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, Salt & Pepper.

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Yes, you read that correctly, CHOCOLATE is the secret ingredient in this delicious chili. I’m using a square of semi-sweet baking chocolate because that’s what I had on hand. Most of the time I just add about 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. On occasion, I’ve even thrown in a few Dove dark chocolate squares.

Dark Chocolate. Trust me. Do it.

*Let’s talk turkey — I’m using ground White Meat turkey. It’s very lean and pretty darned good for you. If you’re trying to cut down on red meat, this is just the chili for you! It has so much flavor from the beans and spices, that I really enjoy the lighter flavor of the turkey meat.

Enough talking, let’s cook. Chop up a large onion

Chop up 2 large Red Bell Peppers. Red Bells….sweet and delicious. You could always use orange or yellow peppers too.

Smash, peel and chop 6 cloves of garlic.

Grab a really big pot and pour in about 3 Tablespoons of olive oil – just enough to coat the bottom.

Add the onions and peppers and saute over medium high heat until tender but not browned.

After the onions and peppers have had a head start (5-10 minutes) make a little well in the center and drop in the ground turkey.

Because the turkey is extremely lean, it helps to cook it with the vegetables to give it a little cushion from the direct heat of the pan. I’ve found that if I try to brown the turkey directly in the empty pan, it sticks like crazy and gets pretty tough.

As it cooks, stir the turkey in with the veggies. The parts on the bottom will brown a bit, but we’re just looking to get rid of the raw, pink meat. This will cook for at least an hour so browning isn’t really necessary.

Once the meat starts to cook, add the chopped garlic and stir it in.

Time for the beans! I like to use a combination of different beans for greater texture, color and flavor. I’m using Red Beans (also called Chili Beans – but buy the plain ones not the ones already in chili sauce), black beans (also w/o sauce), Pinto Beans, and Great Northern or White beans.

Since the beans come in a bit of a gloppy liquid, I like to drain them before adding them to the chili.

The black beans were especially gloppy so I gave them a quick rinse. Add all of the beans to the big pot.

Pour in one box (about 4 cups) of low sodium chicken broth. You can add your own salt later.

Add 1 big can (28 ounces) and 1 regular can (14 ounces) of diced tomatoes and their juices. Starting to look like chili!

Remember that square of chocolate? If you’re using baking chocolate, give it a quick chop to help it melt.


If you’re using chocolate chips, just toss them in.

Spices! Lots of chili powder – about 3 or 4 Tablespoons.

Our friend Charles from New York sent us this awesome Chipotle Chili Powder from the equally awesome Fairway Market. If you have a Fairway Market, you know what I’m talking about and you are entirely too lucky.

Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers so this is pretty fragrant stuff. I used about 1 Tablespoon and it added nice heat and flavor without totally overwhelming the chili with smokey chipotle flavor. If you have something sort of unusual like this, toss it in. If not, regular old chili powder is totally fine and what I normally use.

Other spices to add — 1 Tablespoon (more or less) of cumin and 1 Tablespoon of dried oregano. I also tossed in some dried chili flakes just to spice things up a bit more.

Give the big pot a big stir to combine all of the ingredients. Now is a good time to add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the chili to a boil and then turn the heat down to low so that it simmers and bubbles along nicely. Cook with a lid on for 1 -2 hours.

While the chili cooks, why not get all industrious and make some corn bread muffins?

Remember this Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread?

Well, it totally rocks as muffins. Just spray your muffin tins with a little non-stick cooking spray and fill 3/4 full.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Hello! Please pass the butter.

Turkey Chili. Make some today. Don’t forget the chocolate!

Oh look, somehow sour cream jumped into the bowl. How ever did that happen?

Here’s the recipe:

Turkey Chili

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3 Responses to “Turkey Chili”

  1. Chocolate! You realize now I have to change next week’s menu just so I can make chili and try this out. If there’s one thing I have a ton of in the house, it’s dark chocolate. Thanks for the suggestion, and how neat to find a Tampa Bay neighbor!

  2. Hi and Welcome! A ton of dark chocolate in the house is a very good thing!

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