I would love to be able to take full credit for the creation of, quite literally, the best chili I’ve ever tasted, but sadly I cannot. This turkey chili recipe belongs to the Big Guy. Does it pain me to say this? A little. See, we have a friendly competitiveness about our relationship, largely initiated by him (I don’t feel the need to compete with him – why make him feel bad about himself? ;)) Truth is, he’s a really good cook. However, in the kitchen, there are only a few things that he can do better than I can (in my humble opinion). This Blue Ribbon Turkey Chili is one of them.
I completely give up any claim to this recipe – he owns it, and it makes me proud to be married to the best chili maker in the universe. The only contribution I’ve made over the years is taste testing, providing feedback and helping it to evolve to what it is today – the perennial winner of our neighborhood’s annual Chili Cookoff and a top-5 all-time family favorite.
This turkey chili will warm you on the chilliest day and make you smile for no reason. It’s got enough kick to earn it’s title, but not nearly enough to scare away children or heat-sensitive people. Like fine wine, it gets better with age. You can reheat it every night for a week and somehow it tastes better every time.
Getting the Details Right
And by better I mean richer, more developed in its flavors and a thicker texture. The texture of a good chili is super important to me, just as important as the flavor. Are you with me on this? I’m just not a fan of soupy chili. I want to be able to scoop up my chili with tortilla chips. I want it thick and hearty.
One of the secrets to this Blue Ribbon Turkey Chili is the one little tablespoon of masa flour. Masa is simply corn flour. It’s what we use to make homemade tortillas. You won’t taste it in the chili, but it helps to really thicken it up. It’s a great way to thicken up lots of dishes and still keep them gluten free. If you don’t have masa flour on hand, don’t worry. It’s still not going to be soupy. But if you want to get this Blue Ribbon Turkey Chili perfect, get the masa.
Speaking of getting it right, it’s important to pay as much attention to the process as the actual ingredients. You’ll be seasoning it in stages, and the seasonings that you’re adding “to taste” are in addition to what’s provided in the ingredients list. Don’t worry about the measurements when you’re seasoning – just have fun with it. And once it’s all done, just let it simmer on the stove. It will be ready to eat right away, but the longer you let it simmer the better it will be. Just be sure to stir it from time to time so that it doesn’t burn the bottom of the pot.
Don’t forget the cornbread!
We really like cornbread with our chili. Its sweetness is a nice balance to the bite of the chili. I top mine with cheddar cheese cause why not. The recipe for the cornbread you see in the photos can be found here. It’s super easy to make too.
The measurements below will give you a nice, big pot of turkey chili. Trust me, you’ll want leftovers. But if it’s more than you bargained for, it does freeze well. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. Enjoy!
- One 26 oz. box of Pomi chopped tomatoes
- 1 can dark red kidney beans with juice
- 1 can black beans with juice
- 3lbs ground turkey (we use 92% lean but 85% lean is also good)
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- 2 Tbsp. dry minced onion
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. masa flour
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 2 tsp. pepper
- shredded cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)
- sour cream for garnish (optional)
- diced scallions for garnish (optional)
In a large stock pot over medium heat, brown the turkey. Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder as it cooks. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the worcestershire sauce. Remove from the pot.
Add onions and peppers and saute until soft. Add the minced garlic. Season again with salt and pepper and cook until onion is translucent. Add the remaining worcestershire sauce, the spices and browned turkey to the pot, stirring to combine well.
Stir in the tomatoes, beans and masa flour. Simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes and up to several hours.