Turkey or Chicken Chili

autumn, chicken, chili, kids, potluck, tomatoes, turkey chili, winter

Every time I think I’ve made a ridiculously large amount of this turkey chili, and my husband wonders loudly and pointedly if we’re having a big crowd for dinner, we surprise ourselves by eating it all. Not in one sitting, unless we are in fact having a big crowd for dinner, but over the course of several pleasurable days.

Pot of Chili

Potluck: Turkey Chili

This falls into the blissful, classic category of soups and stews that are even better after a few days. It also falls into the category of meals that make you glad to have in the fridge on a weeknight, especially when work or soccer practice means you’re walking in the door at 6:00 p.m.

Serve the chili with rice, of course, and you don’t even have to bother with salad or a vegetable unless you’re feeling frisky. This chili’s got the veggies built right in.

In some parts of the world, and especially the good old U.S. of A., the definition of chili is the subject of heated discourse. This version could anger the con carne sect, especially those from Texas. There are copious amounts of beans in this chili, and the meat is turkey, not beef. I make no claims to chili authenticity and will just humbly submit the words of chili expert Jane Butel: “Whenever I meet someone who does not consider chili a favorite dish, then I’ve usually found someone who has never tasted good chili.”

Turkey or Chicken Chili


For the Chili

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 pounds ground turkey or chicken and/or fresh turkey sausage removed from the casing (see Cooking Tip)
  • 1 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt, or more to taste
  • 1⁄2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 3 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons pureed chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (optional)
  • 3 cans (about 15.5 ounces each) cannellini, kidney, or black beans, or a mixture of 2 or 3 kinds of beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley (optional)
  • Hot cooked rice, for serving

For Serving, Pick and Choose

  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese, such as cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend
  • Diced avocados, or store-bought or homemade guacamole
  • Minced scallions
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh lime wedges

1. Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and cook until softened, 4 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, chili powder, and cumin and cook for 2 minutes more.

2. Add the turkey, chicken, sausage, or whatever combination you are using, and the salt and black pepper, stirring to coat well with all of the spices. Cook, stirring until the meat loses its pinkness, about 6 minutes, then add the tomatoes, chipotles, if using, and the beans. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture tastes like chili, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the dill or parsley, if using, and add more salt and/or pepper as necessary.

3. Serve the chili with hot rice and any toppings you like.

What the Kids Can Do:

Measure the ingredients, pick their favorite combination of beans, choose toppings and arrange them in bowls.

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