Smoky turkey chili with black beans is a hearty and flavorful dish featuring tender ground turkey cooked with a medley of aromatic spices and smoky chipotle peppers, all simmered together with rich black beans.
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.
How to make turkey chili
Heat oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until tender and light brown, about 10 minutes. Add ground cumin and dried oregano.
Stir for 30 seconds, then add minced garlic cloves. Stir for an additional 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high. Add the ground turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it is cooked through. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 salt, and ground cinnamon.
Add canned whole tomatoes, including the 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. Feel free to use canned crushed tomatoes.
Mix in tomato paste, chopped chipotle peppers, a couple of teaspoons of the adobo sauce (from the can), and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Drain and rinse canned black beans and canned 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.