Who could say no to a big pot of heartwarming turkey and bean chili in the middle of the cold winter? What I love about this recipe is that it is so versatile. Once you get the basics (which are explained in detail below), you can make any chili with whatever meat and bean you have on hand.
The unpredictably of weather and the fluctuations in temperatures have been a welcome change in our lives. We spent the whole of last weekend outdoors, mostly enjoying the weather in the nearby Valley Forge National Park. I find it fascinating that a week ago our backyard was covered in snow and it was below 20 degrees. Now as I am typing this, the sun is shining and it is almost 50 degrees outside. I do not know if this is a sign of spring coming, but I am realizing more than ever that seasons and the lifestyle changes that come with it is what make our lives interesting. Especially when it comes to cooking. It was just a week ago I was making this chili to warm us up. Then this morning, waking up to sunshine I found myself thinking about baking with summer berries. Isn’t it funny how our mood and daily lives are connected to the weather outside?
While we were living down in the Caribbean it was really hard for me to cook winter food. Imagine cooking a big pot of chili in the middle of July?!! Do not get me wrong, it was nice to have warm weather throughout the year, but still, I was envious of all those things people would do during the winter. Even small things like reading a book by the fireplace, watching a movie with my husband under a blanket, watching the snowfall, and cooking heartwarming food like this chili.
About this Heartwarming Turkey and Bean Chili Recipe:
To me, a big pot of chili is the definition of winter food. I love making it with different vegetables, beans, and meats. I also love the fact that it is a crowd pleaser. I can’t imagine a better one-pot dish to make if you have a big family. Or, if you are a two-people family like us, no dish freezes better than this one.
The recipe for this Turkey and Bean Chili you see below is the easiest and the most versatile chili recipe ever. More than anything it is a good place to start experimenting if you are new to the world of chilis.
The Best Part: It Is So Versatile
Here is why:
- Any ground meat would work: The recipe below is made with ground turkey meat, but feel free to change it up with ground beef, chicken, and even lamb. I have tried them all and they all worked well. I used 2-pounds of ground meat, but you can use less than that if you want. In the past, I have also made it with 1 pound of ground meat and added an additional can of beans to make up for it.
- Any type of bean would work: I used a combination of red kidney beans and black beans, but feel free to play with it. In the past I have tried it with pinto beans and they were delicious as well.
To save on time, I used canned beans but you can definitely cook your own beans. I bet a little bit of the cooking liquid from the beans added to the chili would be a nice addition.
- Use toppings to change it up: I cannot think of chili without toppings. When we have this for dinner, I usually skip salad and prep as many toppings as possible. Just like they do in restaurants. I fill a bunch of small bowls with chopped cilantro, red onion, sliced jalapenos, cubed avocados, fresh corn, tortilla chips, lime wedges, and sour cream with a spoon in each bowl. That way we can garnish our chili bowls with whatever we like. Also sometimes, instead of toppings, I make cornbread (like I did in this recipe) or cheese quesadillas to serve it with. Either way, the presentation of a big bowl of chili paired with all this deliciousness not only feed our stomachs, but also our hungry eyes.
Next up, I am going to play with making my own chili powder. Have you ever tried? I made this Turkey Chili recipe with store bought chili and chipotle powder. But during my last visit to the Mexican store by our house, I bought some ancho, chipotle and pasilla chiles. I read in a couple of places that it makes a huge difference. And from what I understand, it is pretty easy to make as well. So stay tuned for that. Until next time, make this chili and let me know how it turned out.
Heartwarming Turkey and Bean Chili
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 6-8
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 1 red (or yellow) bell pepper, stemmed and cut into small pieces
- 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
- 6-7 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (28 oz.) can pureed tomato
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- As garnish:
- 1 fresh jalapeno, sliced thinly
- 1 ripe avocado, cut into small cubes
- Lime wedges
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven (or a large heavy bottom pan) over medium heat. Add in the onions, chopped bell pepper and jalapenos. Cook, stirring frequently until they are softened, 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook while stirring frequently until vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes.
- Add in the turkey. Using a wooden spoon, break it up into smaller pieces and cook until it is no longer pink, 8-10 minutes.
- Add in the black beans, red kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato puree. Give it a big gentle stir. Put the lid on and let it come to a boil.
- Once it boils, turn the heat to low and put the lid ajar. Let it simmer, stirring every 10-15 minutes, for an hour. It will thicken as it cooks.
- Taste for seasoning and add if necessary. Right before serving, stir in the fresh cilantro.
- To serve: Ladle the chili into soup bowls and garnish them with jalapeno slices and diced avocado. Serve with lime wedges on the side.