Turkey Chili

In Georgia, fall lasts about a month; sandwiched right between winter and a summer that lasts about five months. So as soon as there is the slightest nip in the air, we are ready for chilies, stews, and the like. Here is a healthy chili that is perfect for a quick fall dinner. It’s faster than your grandmother’s chili, without sacrificing that traditional hearty flavor.

The thing that really lightens up this particular dish is the use of turkey sausage in lieu of pork or beef, and of course packing it full of veggies. We also use a couple of non-traditional spices, like cocoa and cinnamon, to add some warmth and depth of flavor, without having to simmer it for hours.

Like always, this was prepared for our whole family, so this is definitely a milder chili. Some easy ways to add some heat would be: adding an extra poblano, hot sauce, cayenne, any other hot pepper or chili that you like, or a combination of these. Wyatt is still getting the hang of eating chili, and souplike dishes in general, so we didn’t want the added challenge of trying to eat something super spicy.

We served him a small bowlfull that was heavier on the meat and beans. In every other way, however, all of our bowls were plated exactly the same. We all had a nice dollop of sour cream on top, and plenty of mini corn bread muffins!

We all loved it!

Even if one of us was bribed with a scoop of ice cream in order to finish their bowl.

Turkey Chili


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • lb spicy italian turkey sausage
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 2 bell peppers (diced)
  • 1 poblano pepper (diced)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 heaped tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
  • sour cream


Step 1
Here are the main players in tonight's dish.
Step 2
It might seem like a lot of seasonings, but it is chili after all.
Step 3
Add the olive oil to a nice sized pan over medium heat.
Step 4
While the oil heats up, remove the sausage casings. I find it's easiest to use a sharp paring knife to draw a line right down the length of the sausage and then just pull that sticky little stocking right off.
Step 5
Add the loose sausage to the hot pan, and brown for about 3-4 minutes. Then add 1 tsp. each of: cinnamon, garlic powder, and chili powder. Cook an additional 2 minutes.
Step 6
Use a slotted spoon to remove the browned sausage to a bowl.
Step 7
Next add the diced onion plus 1/4 tsp. kosher salt to the hot turkey drippings. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 8
Add the heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, and give it a stir and about 30 seconds to cook before moving on.
Step 9
Stir in all of the diced peppers. We had an orange and yellow bell pepper on hand, but any color or combo would work. And remember to feel free to add more poblanos, or some hotter peppers or chiles if you're feeling more adventurous!
Step 10
Mix it all in together until it looks like veggie confetti, then let it cook down and sweat for about 5 minutes.
Step 11
Now add in the whole can of tomato paste, along with a heaping tablespoon each of cocoa powder and flour.
Step 12
Smear everything together until it's all bound in a thick rusty paste. Let it cook for about a minute, to help both the flour and tomato paste not taste so raw.
Step 13
Kick the heat up to medium high and add the wine. You could add red wine or beer at this point, or to keep it alcohol free you could skip right to the broth and just add a little extra. I, however, seem to find myself in the kitchen holding a glass of white wine on most nights, so that ends up being my deglazer of choice.
Step 14
The wine's job is it help pick up all the tasty flavor bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. So just bubble and scrap away for about a minute.
Step 15
Next add the broth, rinsed beans, and the can of tomatoes. Give it a good stir.
Step 16
Next come the rest of the spices. It's the cumin, oregano and black pepper. Plus the other 2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. chili powder, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.
Step 17
Now it's just a matter of letting it simmer for around 20 minutes. Of course, it is chili... so simmering a bit longer, or playing with the spices to suit your tastes won't hurt in the slightest.

Step 18
Like almost every other chili I've tried, I love this with soda crackers (saltines if you're from the north), but with plenty of sour cream and corn bread muffins it's wonderful too!





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