Classic Turkey Chili

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Classic Turkey Chili

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing more inviting than a big pot of chili simmering on the stove. This classic and healthy turkey chili is adapted from The Complete One Pot Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen, a great resource for reliable meals made with a single pot or pan. The chili has a rich, spicy flavor and thick texture, and it’s loaded with fiber-rich kidney beans.

Since ground turkey is lean and can easily dry out, the recipe uses a genius technique to ensure the meat stays moist. Instead of adding all of the meat at once, a portion of the turkey is sautéed in the beginning and cooked low and slow to build flavor. Towards the end of the simmering time, the remaining turkey is pinched into small pieces — almost like mini meatballs — and stirred into the chili, creating chunks of tender turkey in every bite. Be sure to use 93% lean ground turkey, which is a combination of light and dark meat, rather than 99% lean ground turkey breast.

What You’ll Need To Make Turkey Chili

turkey chili ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Roughly chop the onions, bell pepper, and garlic and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
vegetables in bowl of food processor

Pulse, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the vegetables are finely chopped. Do not over-process; the vegetables should not be puréed. (Alternatively, finely chop the onions, bell pepper, and garlic by hand.)
minced vegetables in bowl of food processor

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables, chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne pepper.

vegetables and spices in Dutch oven

Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
softened vegetables and spices

Add about 1-1/4 pounds of the turkey to the pot.

adding part of the turkey to the pot

Increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

partially cooked turkey with vegetables and spices in pot

Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes and their juice, crushed tomatoes, broth, and salt and bring to a simmer.

adding tomatoes and beans to the pot

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until the chili has begun to thicken, about 1 hour.
simmering the turkey chili

Pat the remaining 3/4 pound turkey together into a ball, then pinch off teaspoon-size pieces of meat and stir into the chili.

adding the remaining turkey to the chili

Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until turkey is tender and chili is slightly thickened, about 40 minutes. (If the chili begins to stick to the bottom of the pot or looks too thick, stir in extra broth as needed.)

finished turkey chiliTaste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve with your favorite chili toppings.

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