If you cook for a family, you know that a recipe everyone likes is a rare find. Whatever you decide to make, it seems like at least one person refuses to eat it. For our family, this mom’s best turkey chili recipe is an exception. It’s a favorite with everyone, and it’s become a family tradition. We serve it even on special occasions, like Sunday dinner and birthdays. When my young adult daughters moved out of the house, it wasn’t long before they called home and asked for the recipe. My brand new son-in-law has learned how to make it, too.
Not only is this turkey chili warm, spicy and satisfying, it’s high in protein, low in fat, and packed full of yummy veggies. This recipe makes a double batch of turkey chili, enough for 12 servings, so I’ll usually freeze half of it for a day when I don’t have time to cook. As a busy working mom, I love having freezer meals on hand.
I like to serve this chili with shredded cheese, diced avocado and sliced green onion as toppings, and tortilla chips on the side. You can serve this turkey chili with or without beans. If you want to add beans, kidney or pinto beans would be the best choice.
Making mom’s best turkey chili is a pretty straightforward process. Sauté the ground turkey in a bit of olive oil with garlic, salt, oregano and spices. This sauté process not only browns the turkey, it helps develop, or “bloom,” the flavor of the spices. For this chili, I like to use a mix of regular and chipotle chili powder.
When the turkey is almost cooked, add the diced onion and bell pepper, and sauté these until they start to soften. This is necessary because of the tomatoes in the chili. The acid from the tomatoes will prevent the onions and peppers from softening during the simmering process. You probably don’t want crunchy, raw-tasting onions and peppers in your chili!
After the turkey is browned and the vegetables softened, add some pureéd tomatoes with their juice. Simmer your chili gently on the stovetop for about an hour. You can taste the chili and adjust the seasonings during this process. Chipotle chili powder gets hotter the longer you cook it, so don’t add too much starting out.
Mom’s best turkey chili is one of our family’s absolute favorite recipes. I hope your family will love it, too! Give it a try, and leave a review to let me know how you like it!
Mom's Best Turkey Chili
- 2 packages 1.25 pounds each 85 percent lean ground turkey
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons mild chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons chipotle chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons oregano preferably Mexican
- 2-3 teaspoons salt
- 2 medium onions diced fine
- 4 bell peppers diced fine
- 2 28- oz. or 4 14-oz. cans tomatoes diced or whole
- 2 cans kidney or pinto beans optional, drained and rinsed, or 3 cups cooked beans
- Chop the onions and bell pepper and set aside.
- Put the olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, salt, chili powder and oregano and brown the meat, stirring and breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.
- When the meat is almost cooked, add the bell pepper and onion, and continue to cook and stir until the vegetables are translucent and beginning to soften.
- Process the tomatoes with their juice in a blender until pureed. Add the pureed tomatoes to the pot and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for one hour. Taste halfway through cooking and adjust seasonings. Chipotle powder will become hotter during the cooking process. Add water if the chili is too thick.
- Add the kidney beans, if desired, and simmer until hot.
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Photos by Marsha Maxwell and Yulia1971/Shutterstock.com