Turkey Chili

December 4, 2013

Couple of Zeros | Turkey Chili

When the weather turns crisp, nothing sounds better than a big bowl of chili. We make at least one huge batch every fall, and often more if we’re having guests over. It’s just so easy and comforting.

Though I love the flavor of a classic beef chili, I wanted to see if we could make something just as satisfying but a little healthier. I’d had chili with ground turkey before, and—though texture was right—the flavor lacked depth. Challenge accepted.

We experimented with several classic “secret ingredients” found in chili, such as Coca Cola, cocoa, coffee, and cinnamon. In the end, beer and chipotle powder did the trick. I didn’t want the chili to taste especially smokey from the chipotle (we were aiming for that classic flavor), but we found that if you add just enough, it gives it the perfect richness.

In the spirit of keeping it healthier, we serve it with greek yogurt. The key to using greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream is to stir it into your bowl so it’s all mixed up. The yogurt neutralizes the spiciness and adds creaminess, while the strong spices in the chili overpower the mild yogurt flavor. You won’t miss the sour cream.

I think we did a pretty bang up job. Let me know what you think.


Turkey Chili
From the kitchen of Sarah & Scott Zero

Makes 8–10 servings. Freezes well, great for a crowd.

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped and seeded (less if you’re sensitive to heat)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 T. chipotle chili powder
  • 2 T. red chili powder
  • 2 t. ground cumin
  • 24 oz. beer (Yuengling or another lager)
  • 60 oz. beans (canned), drained and rinsed (we mix kidney, dark kidney, and black)
  • 40 oz. diced tomatoes (canned)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • oyster crackers
  • greek yogurt
  • chopped scallions

Brown the turkey in large stock pot with a bit of olive oil on high heat. Do not worry about cooking through—just get it brown. Remove and put aside.

Heat more oil in the stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers, garlic, and cook—stirring occasionally—until tender. Return the turkey. Add tomato paste, chili powders, and cumin, stirring until well mixed—about 2 minutes.

Add beer, half of the beans, diced tomatoes, 2 ½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened (25–30 minutes), or over low heat for as long as a few hours.

Stir in remaining beans 15 minutes before serving. Serve with toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

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