Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

Evenings here in San Diego have been getting quite cold recently.  Several days ago I found myself craving a warm bowl of spicy chili.  The type of chili one could enjoy while sitting on the couch wrapped in a cable-knit granny blanket watching recorded Cooking Channel shows.  This Turkey chili was my answer to that craving.  Bold and comforting, this Turkey Chili is spiced with a flavorful blend of chili powder, red pepper flake, cumin and black pepper.  My favorite part of this soup is it’s texture.  Stewed tomatoes are used rather than tomato sauce and shredded, whole turkey rather than ground turkey.  The resulting soup is unbelievably satisfying.  Each hearty bite packs a spicy punch that is guaranteed to banish any cold weather doldrums.  PS.  This chili is the perfect use up for leftover Thanksgiving turkey.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Chopped Green Bell Pepper and Onion

Onion, garlic and green bell pepper provide a flavorful base to build our soup upon.  The spice blend below features mild chili powder, hot chili powder, ground ancho, red pepper flake and cumin.  I like my chili very spicy.  If you are sensitive to heat, I would recommend substituting in additional mild chili powder.

Chili Spice Blend

5.0 from 3 reviews
Turkey Chili
Adapted from here.
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder*
  • 1 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 70 oz. canned stewed tomatoes with juices (that's 2 big cans and 1 smaller can)
  • 2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups of shredded, cooked turkey meat
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste
  • Toppings: shredded cheese, chopped red onion, sour cream
  1. Warm extra virgin olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Once the oil starts shimmering, add the chopped onion and green bell pepper. Cook until soft and slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine. Cook the spices for a few minutes, stirring often.
  2. To the pot add stewed tomatoes with juices, kidney beans, tomato paste, chicken stock, oregano, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and shredded turkey meat. Bring the mixture to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for an hour.
  3. Stir in sugar then season to taste with additional sugar and kosher salt.
  4. To serve, spoon chili into soup bowls and top with shredded cheese, chopped red onion and sour cream.
*I used a blend of various chili powders. 1 tablespoon of mild chili powder, 1 tablespoon of extremely spicy chili powder and 1 tablespoon of ground ancho chili. The resulting flavor and spice level were perfect (to me!). Feel free to make adjustments based on your own taste.



  1. says

    Beautiful, Brandon!

    Was going to ask you what lens you shoot your food with. I’ve been using my 24-70mm but want to get a prime lens with food shoots in mind. If you have one you love, lmk. I have the 50mm f/1.8 but it’s just “okay”. Your images are always SO tack sharp. Would love to know what you use and also do you post-process in PShop or LRoom?

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Thanks Averie!

      I use a 100mm macro lens for food photography. Always mounted on a tripod. I wish I could be as steady as Penny and shoot without a tripod, but I find my photos never come out as good.

      I mainly use Photoshop for post processing; however, I did use Lightroom for my vacation pics (I had to sort through 750 images and then tweak 300 of them!).

  2. says

    The pieces of turkey look so delicious in this chili! I think my youngest would be thrilled if made something other than turkey tetrazzini post Thanksgiving.

  3. Mitchell says

    Certainly going to take a few cues from your turkey chili as I attempt to make a chili creation of my own. Where did you get the chili powder from in such variety of options?

  4. Destiny says

    I tried this recipe I found it off a link on pinterest it was so delicious. I used black beans and navy beans, and fresh tomato extra water & more tomato paste. topped with green onions, sour cream && cheese :) it was a huge hit at my house it was eaten so quickly :) however I am planning on making it with the kidney beans next time I think it will taste so different & I repined my outcome for my fellow pinterest friends siting your page as a reference point. I want to say thank you for the awesome recipe!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: