Turkey Chili With White Beans

"I was never much of a fan of the traditional hamburger and kidney bean chilis. Then I found this recipe and this chili is now the only one I make. It was originally from Bon Appetit but I've modified it to our tastes. I would never have thought that cocoa powder or cinnamon would go into a Chili recipe but I think that's what makes this chili so good. This chili can be prepared ahead of time and reheated in the microwave. And like most chilis tastes better once the flavors have a chance to blend."
photo by Marla Swoffer photo by Marla Swoffer
photo by Marla Swoffer
Ready In:
1hr 30mins




  • Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onions and sauté until light brown and tender.
  • Add oregano and cumin- stir 1 minute.
  • Increase heat to medium-high.
  • Add turkey and stir until no longer pink, being sure to break up meat while stirring.
  • Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.
  • Add tomatoes with their juices.
  • Mix in stock and tomato sauce.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about another 10 minutes longer.
  • Discard bay leaves.
  • Ready to serve.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Yum! I've made this several times and it's really great. I agree with Picholine that the initial cooking of the meat and spices before adding liquid is key. The cocoa and cinnamon add a fantastic flavor, but my friends can never guess what it is. I also love to make this and take it to work to nuke at the office. Thanks!
  2. Our church just had its annual chili cook-off and I'm so wishing I had made this recipe. It's that good. The chili powder gives it just the right amount of heat and flavor. I think cooking the ground turkey with the spices before adding the liquid is essential. I wouldn't change anything about this recipe except to omit the salt since my tomato products are salted, and to use a variety of beans (I used cannellini and kidney). I was short on time so I only let it simmer/boil for 10 minutes before adding the beans. I was also out of bay leaves, but those shortcuts didn't seem to affect the quality. This is wonderful chili--even my husband, a chili conoisseur, raved. Made it again with black and kidney beans. Even better. Left out the cocoa. Used bay leaves. Used tomato paste with/water instead of sauce.



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