There must be something in the water. Over the past week, my 8- and 5-year old boys have, on their own accord, added several previously gag-inducing foods to their repertoires. Mustard is now being slathered onto sandwiches, salads are in high demand, and black beans are now considered "awesome".
When I made this chili for dinner, there was a back-up can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup in the pantry. Rich with cocoa powder, packed with black and white beans, and smoky with heat from chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and chili powder, this chili packs a punch and was not what I considered to be kid-friendly.
Remind me never to underestimate kids.
Two bowl-clearing helpings later, I was honored with two thumbs up. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather!
If you prefer less heat, simply decrease the amount of chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and chili pepper. On the other hand, if you like to blow steam out of your ears, well... you know what to do. Chipotle peppers are the key to the smokiness in this recipe, and lend a unique flavor to a variety of dishes, such as Crockpot Chicken, Black Bean & Chipotle Pepper Soup.
If you prefer to go meatless, try my vegetarian chili recipe made in the Instant Pot.
Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat. Add 2 chopped medium onions and sauté until tender and light brown, about 10 minutes. Add 1 ½ teaspoons cumin and 1 ½ teaspoons oregano.
Stir for 30 seconds, then add 2 chopped garlic cloves. Stir for an additional 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high. Add 2 pounds ground turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it is cooked through. Add ¼ cup chili powder, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Add 1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, including juices. Break up the tomatoes with wooden spoon while cooking. A couple of them weren't breaking up well, so I took them out of the pot, chopped the tomatoes, then added them back to the mixture.
Mix in 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 chopped chipotle peppers, 2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce, and 3 cups low-salt chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Drain and rinse 1 (15 oz.) can black beans and 1 (15 oz) can small white beans. Add to the chili and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Ladle chili into bowl, and serve with sour cream and chopped cilantro.
Smoky Turkey Chili Recipe
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 pounds ground turkey meat
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes (including juices)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo chopped
- 2 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotle pepper can
- 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can small white beans, drained and rinsed
- sour cream
- fresh cilantro chopped
- Heat canola oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender and light brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add cumin and oregano. Stir for 30 seconds, then add garlic cloves. Stir for an additional 30 seconds.
- Increase heat to medium-high. Add ground turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it is cooked through.
- Add chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add whole tomatoes, including juices. Break up the tomatoes with wooden spoon while cooking. If the tomatoes are breaking down easily, remove from the pot, chop, and then return to the mixture.
- Mix in tomato paste, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaves.
- Add black and white beans to the chili. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Ladle chili into bowl, and serve with sour cream and chopped cilantro.
I made the chili for my husband and his family and when I got back from helping a friend I was lucky to have the last bowlful left in the pot! My husband is super picky and his family are chile eaters. I served it with the condiments suggested alongside a bowl of tortilla chips-it went together quickly, but in my haste, I now realize I left out the cocoa powder! I appreciated the simplicity of the black and white bean combo and I am sure my husband is happy with a corn-free turkey chili recipe. WILL make it again~thx!!
I'm so glad you and your husband enjoyed the chili, Erin! My family is always very excited when I make a pot of it and I've started to make double batches so I can freeze the rest.
This is the best chili I have ever made. It is now a staple in our home. It's amazingly good and makes enough to have dinner and a few lunches throughout the week, which is key for us!
I actually throw in some stone ground Mexican dark chocolate instead of the cocoa powder, but I'm a chocolate fiend so that may not be for everyone. But it makes it crazy delicious 🙂
I just have to comment to let you know that this has been our go-to chili recipe since we found your post two years ago. We always get tons of compliments on it, because it's flipping amazing. Thank you 🙂
Hi! This is a pretty old post, I know, but I found it a while ago and have since made it a few times. I have to say, the first time I made it was in Montreal and I couldn't find chipotles in adobo ANYWHERE. I figured chipotles... Peppers... Pickled hot peppers? Ha. They don't really have many flavor similarities, but being the pickled hot pepper freak that I am, I really liked, maybe prered, the version with the hot peppers as opposed to the adobo. The smokiness the adobo peppers add is unmatched, though. 🙂
Anyways, thanks for the recipe. 🙂 I always enjoy making it when the weather gets nippy.
Made this this evening when our weather turned cold and rainy-gotta love Texas weather. So wonderful!! Everyone loved it, even my littlest who had her own back up of Velveeta Mac and Cheese handy! Thanks so sharing!
Dara (Cookin' Canuck)
I am honored that someone from Texas enjoyed my chili. Seriously, I take that as a huge compliment. Thank you!
that looks delicious! I am might have to fit that in next week
This recipe is fabulous! I made it for the Vikings/Cowboys game last Sunday and it was a huge hit. I have several friends who don't eat beef so I was resigned to turkey but I couldn't even tell it wasn't beef! I doubled the recipe and it was perfect for 12 people. Thanks much!
I made this chili for the Cowboys game and it was a huge hit! Delicious! A new favorite in my book.
Thanks again for the rest of your comments.
Abigail, thank you for letting me know that you made this. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Yum yum yum! Made this tonight and enjoying it as we speak! Crazy delicious!! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂
The chili loos awesome, cocoa great added flavor, kids will surprise you...
I am always looking for a turkey chili recipe that has great flavor. Unfortunately, most do not. I look forward to trying this one out! It looks delish!
I love chili! I like that you added cocoa to it.
Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog
Anything with turkey chili and chipotle peppers is very good in my book. 😉
Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer
Looks incredible no surprise it is a hit! Love the flavor combinations. We actually prefer turkey based chili to beef so this is going right to the top of the must make list!
No wonder they loved it! The flavours sound amazing!!
What a great mix of beans and rice with great spices to boot! Sounds wonderful.
Thanks for all of your comments about the recipe and photos. I am having a great time playing with my new camera, though I still have so much to learn.
We finished up the leftovers of this chili tonight and, as with most chilis and stews, it was even better the second time around.
Hmmm... thinking this would be quite tasty for Super Bowl Sunday!