Turkey Chili

Recipe: Turkey Chili

Summary: I always double the recipe. Make a single batch your first time and see if you like the flavor. It's a little different than the traditional.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • ½ red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 - 14oz. can diced tomatoes w/juice
  • ½ chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 - 14oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ c chopped fresh cilantro, extra for garnish
  • Sour cream
  • Dark chocolate, grated


  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the turkey, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook while stirring for roughly 3 minutes.
  2. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon and cook while stirring another 3 minutes or until the water evaporates and turkey sizzles.
  3. Add the chopped onion, garlic and another ½ teaspoon salt.
  4. Cover and cook until the onion is wilted, about 5-7 minutes. If the onion or spices begin to stick to the pan, add 2 T water and scrape with a wooden spoon to release.
  5. Add the carrots, tomatoes, chipotle pepper, water and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook, partially covered for 25 minutes.
  6. Stir in the beans and ½ cup cilantro, cooking for 15 minutes more. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and 1 tablespoon grated chocolate over the top. Garnish with cilantro.

Quick Notes

The recipe is for the stove top. If I want to do it in the crockpot, I make it up to the point of adding the cocoa powder, excluding the canned tomatoes and water, and stick it in the fridge overnight. Early in the morning I dump it cold into the crock pot and add the tomatoes and water. Then I drain and rinse the beans, leaving them out to sort of dry off in the strainer. About half way through the day I add the beans and cilantro.

I usually use a good chicken stock instead of water and use less than half the amount suggested making for the crockpot. Unlike the stove top, it doesn't boil away quickly. In fact, I don't use the full amount when I make it on the stove top either. I like a thicker chili.

I use more than a "pinch" of cinnamon and am generous with the other spices as well.

I use yellow onions all the time. I don't think the red affects the flavor, it's just a color thing.

Use gloves when you cut up the chipotle pepper. Even though it's canned, it packs a burning wallop by itself. It's a wonderful flavor in the chili, but there's a reason the recipe only calls for 1/2 a pepper that's the size of your thumb. BTW, don't worry, this isn't a "hot" or "spicy" chili. It's just flavorful.

The sour cream and grated chocolate change the whole flavor. They really are a must. My kids are mild chocolate only, but on this, they eat the dark chocolate and in fact, have a good time grating it after they serve up their bowl.

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