Turkey Chili

Americans are very familiar with chili and its endless variations, given we have such a strong, positive Mexican impact on our food and culture. So really, no introduction or explanation is needed for this wonderful, hearty, Mexican stew.

On second thought, not everyone around the world knows chili, and I’m not sure that even Americans know its origins. Chili was invented in the 1850s by Mexican and Tejana working class women, in what is now northern Mexico and south Texas. It included beef (sometimes dried beef) and chili peppers. Over the years it has spread all over the U.S. and evolved to include ground beef, red or black beans, vegetables, and of course chili pepper. That is the very basic recipe. The variations, however, are endless – with or without meat, different types of meat, different kinds of beans, more or less veggies, and a different ratio of spices. Whichever combination you choose, you still want to keep the same selection of spices (especially the chili powder), otherwise the flavor of the dish is completely altered, and you end up with something that isn’t chili.

This version calls for ground turkey, instead of beef, and a mix of different beans.

4 tbs oil
1 large onion chopped
4 sticks celery chopped
3 carrots chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 lbs ground turkey
3 cans of beans with the liquid (red, pinto, white)
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs chili powder
1 heaping tbs chicken soup powder
1 tbs salt
1 tbs powdered garlic
1 tbs ground coriander seeds
1 tbs cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups cilantro leaves chopped


In a large pot, sauté the onion, celery and carrots in four tablespoons of oil, until translucent.

Add the bell peppers and sauté for 5 minutes longer.

Add the ground turkey and stir in with the veggies, breaking the turkey into small chunks with a wooden spoon.

Stir in the beans with their liquid, tomato paste, and spices and mix to combine.

Add one cup of water, bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer the dish for an hour.

Turn off the heat and add the chopped cilantro to the chili.

Serve the chili over rice or just as is. At home we like to add some tangy hot sauce to the bowl.

Buen Provecho!


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5 thoughts on “Turkey Chili

    1. Mark, thanks so much for linking to my post! I wish you lots of luck fighting melanoma and gaining back good health. Our hardest obstacles in life make us the strongest, so do not give up and don’t lose hope. All the best!


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