Best Ever Turkey Chili

turkey-chiliGrowing up, Mom made Chili at home, and of course, it was her own creation. She used ground beef and kidney beans in a tomato based sauce. It was delicious. For many years, I made it exactly the way she did until one day your father and I were visiting the botanical gardens and we stopped for lunch in their cafeteria.  Dad ordered the Chili, which he liked very much, so I took a taste. It was slightly sweet and in addition to beans it also had corn.  I decided to recreate a hybrid recipe at home.  I started with my Mom’s recipe and added a second type of beans, corn, a little brown sugar to add the sweet element, and a little nutmeg.  Pardon my frankness, but my creation is better than the one we tasted at the botanical gardens.

I use ground turkey now since it is a healthier choice, but you can use beef. The turkey has a certain gamey taste, and this is the reason I use nutmeg. It disguises the gamey flavor. I use nutmeg in all my ground turkey recipes.


1 – lb. ground turkey (97% lean)
1 – medium onion diced
2 – stalks celery (center leafy is best)
3 – cloves garlic
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 – tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 – tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 – tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 – cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 – tbls. chili powder
1 – 15 oz. can black beans
1 – 15 oz. can red kidney beans
1 – 15 oz. can sweet corn
1 – 10..5 oz can tomato soup (Campbell’s healthy request)
1 – 10.5 oz can diced tomatoes

Note:  you can substitute the beans with any kind you prefer; for example, chic peas or pinto beans.


Add 2 tsp. Canola oil in a large heavy pot. Add the diced onion and garlic. Sauté on low heat until tender. Careful not to let the garlic burn. Push the onions aside and add the ground turkey. Break it up into small pieces. Add the salt, pepper and the rest of the spices. Cook on medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Add the tomato soup, and 12 oz. of water. (You can use chicken stock in place of water if you like). Stir, and then add the diced tomatoes, celery stalks (keep whole), corn, and beans. Drain the corn and rinse the beans before adding them. Once the chili comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook about 45 min. to one hour.   Remove the celery before serving.

We usually add a little cheddar cheese on top or sour cream.


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