White Turkey Chili

I have been having a love affair.  With chili.  It’s not even funny, I really love chili – it’s well known among my friends and family.  It’s become a joke now, come to think of it.  If I at all need to be ‘bribed’ to go somewhere the final temptation is a mention that chili will be served.  Works every time.

I do make the traditional chili with tomatoes and chop meat, I’ve been making it for years.  I recently decided to spread my wings a bit and try a white chili and I’ve been pleasantly surprised!  It’s still chili, but it’s different…a nice different.  It’s lighter, since I’m using turkey meat, and I’m sure more healthy.  The spices are somewhat similar as a normal chili, however, this one is made with chicken stock and tons of cilantro.  And if you’ve read my Tuna Fish Sandwich post you know just how I feel about cilantro.  The other new (for me) and interesting ingredient in this chili is poblano peppers. The poblano is a mild chili pepper that is green and smaller than a green bell pepper.  Most of the heat is found in the ribs and seeds, so if you shy away from spicy foods, be sure to remove them all.  They provide a nice, gentle kick to this chili.  My local market doesn’t sell them but I was able to find them at the Union Square Farmer’s Market.  If you can’t find them you can use three regular green peppers and maybe one small jalapeno pepper (seeds and ribs removed). Here’s what poblano peppers look like…



I was also able to pick up some fresh corn at the farmer’s market, so I cut the kernels off and added them to the chili.  If you don’t have fresh corn, by all means just add a small can of corn, or even frozen.  I do like how this chili is mostly white and green with just a few flecks of orange from the carrots and yellow from the corn.

Another strange ingredient in this chili is barley.  I just took it upon myself to throw some in, for the heck of it.  You don’t really need it.  I just like knowing it is in there, and I think it helps thicken things up a bit.  As with regular chili, this version improves as it sits in the fridge. 

And let’s not forget the bread!  For me it’s essential to have a very crunchy piece of whole grain bread to go along with this.  I love the crunch!

For all you traditionalists out there, give this version a try,  you just might like it. 

Here’s what you will need…

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 small carrot, diced

1 large ear of corn, kernels removed

3 medium poblano peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced

1 small green bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 1/2 heaping tsp ground cumin

3/4 heaping tsp ground coriander

1/2 heaping tsp cayenne pepper

1 heaping tbsp chili powder

1 tsp oregano

1 pound ground white turkey meat

1 15 oz cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed

5 cups chicken stock, low sodium

2 tbsp barley (optional)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

salt & pepper

**bread slice and one clove garlic (optional)

Serves 4-6 people.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, celery, carrot, peppers and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, roughly 8 minutes.  Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, oregano and chili powder, stir to mix and cook for one minute.

Slide the mixture to the side of the pot, add the turkey and cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking up the meat into small pieces with the back of the spoon.  Cook until no longer pink.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

In a blender, puree 1/2 cup total of both chick peas and cannellini beans with 1/2 cup of chicken stock.  Add puree to the pot with the remainder of the beans.  Add chicken stock , corn and half of the chopped cilantro, stir and bring to a boil.  At this point, if you decided to use barley, add it to the pot now.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes.  Add most of the remaining cilantro to the pot and stir.  Divide into serving bowls and sprinkle with last remaining chopped cilantro.

Toast bread.  Once removed and still hot, gently rub garlic over hot bread.

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3 Responses to “White Turkey Chili”

  1. October 26, 2008 at 12:27 am

    wow, that looks good!!! i love turkey chili and white beans! and the corn is a nice addition, too!

  2. 2 Anna
    November 23, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    I just made this with an extra free turkey and added chicken sausage as well. This is a delicious and lovely recipe to make and eat. A good one to file away for after Thanksgiving. Thank you.

  3. 3 Gina
    September 7, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Just made this…excellent!

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