Looking for a spicy turkey chili recipe or just a great game day chili? This white bean chili recipe will soon be your family’s favorite. My simple turkey chili with tomatillos and white beans is hearty, flavorful and it can be as spicy (or not) as you like. Best turkey chili EVER…
This post has been updated since it’s original publish date in 2015 for photography purposes.
I’ve been writing about my friend, Nola, for years — and how she introduced me to Hatch chile peppers a while back. She’d taken a road trip to Colorado to visit friends and family and on her way back, she loaded a cooler with several metric tons of fire-roasted hatch chiles. I was the lucky recipient of about half of her bounty — and so my love affair with the hatch chile began. Since then, I’ve made chile rellenos, hatch green chile bread, braised hatch green chile chopped pork, braised pork penne casserole and even a breakfast strata and I’ve updated this simple turkey chili to include hatch green chiles — because they make it THAT MUCH BETTER.
Fast forward to this fall… I took a trip to Colorado and Nola and her sister Karen, took me to their favorite Hatch green chile stand to show me how the roasting process was done. I took a video (at the top of this post) which shows the mechanics of fire roasting — as well as Nola, Karen and Margaret prepping the chiles to freeze.
I think everyone must have a favorite chili recipe in their cooking arsenal… some with beans, some without. Some with beef, some with poultry. This one is loaded with beans, turkey and fire roasted chiles. I’m talking LEGIT fire-roasted hatch green chiles. This simple turkey chili is our official game day chili and my husband thinks it’s the best turkey chili out there — but he may be biased. You decide.
Ingredients For Simple Turkey Chili with Tomatillos and White Beans:
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
- Adobo Sauce
- Chicken Broth
- Sweet Peppers
- Chili Powder
- Cayenne (optional)
- Ground Turkey Breast
- Bay Leaf
- Fire Roasted Hatch Chiles (if available)
- Cannellini Beans
How To Tame The Heat on Spicy Turkey Chili Recipe
This spicy turkey chili recipe is an easy one pot meal that doesn’t require simmering all day long, making it a perfect game day chili. I mentioned earlier that you can make your white bean chili recipe as spicy or mild as you like… and this recipe has lots of layers of chile, so there are various ways to adjust the heat.
- Omit the cayenne pepper. The way this recipe is written, it’s got a mouth-tingling heat. Not exactly hellfire and damnation, but if you’re spice averse — make the adjustments I’ve indicated.
- Cut down on the heat from the jalapeño by removing the white membrane and seeds (that’s where the spice is).
- Hatch green chiles can be mild or spicy — so order (either at the roadside roaster stand or online) according to your tastes.
- For the spicy tomatillo sauce, cut back on the chipotle pepper and adobo (though I think this really adds a lot of flavor).
- Conversely, if you don’t mind a little tongue tingling heat, keep the recipe as is and have a few cold cervezas at the ready!
You’ll want to use your largest dutch oven for this spicy turkey chili recipe because it makes a lot! Pictured is a 7-qt. dutch oven and it’s nearly full. If you’re planning on making this your game day chili, set up a buffet with all the toppings close by, so your guests can garnish the simple turkey chili the way they like it! (See garnish suggestions in the recipe card.)
Let me hear from you on this. Have you had hatch green chiles before? Don’t they make the best turkey chili?
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Tomatillo Turkey Chili
FOR THE SPICY TOMATILLO SAUCE:
- 1 pound tomatillos peeled and quartered
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce note - do not use the entire can of chilis -- only 1 pepper
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers
- 2 cups chicken broth low sodium
FOR THE SIMPLE TURKEY CHILI :
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1/2 sweet bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper diced (for more heat- keep seeds and membranes, for less, discard seeds and membranes)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder or other chili powder
- pinch cayenne pepper optional
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3 pounds ground turkey I use one pound extra lean and one pound regular
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup fire roasted hatch chiles skins, stems and seeds removed
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon corn meal
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped, + more for garnish
- Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- cilantro leaves
- avocado diced
- lime wedges
- sour cream
- green onion diced
- jalapenos sliced
- tortilla chips
- hot sauce
MAKE THE SPICY TOMATILLO SAUCE:
- In a blender or food processor combine the tomatillos, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and chicken broth. Pulse several times until pureed. Set aside.
MAKE THE SIMPLE TURKEY CHILI:
- In a large dutch oven heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and salt. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are softened and fragrant. Stir in cumin, chili powder, cayenne (if using), and oregano. Cook, stirring for an additional minute.
- Add ground turkey, breaking up lumps with the back of a wooden spoon. Brown the turkey while incorporating it into the vegetables. This should take 5-6 minutes or until the turkey is browned.
- Pour spicy tomatillo sauce into the turkey mixture. Add the bay leaf, hatch chiles and cannelloni beans. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil. Place lid on the pot so that it's mostly covered but steam can still escape. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in cornmeal and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Check for seasoning, adding salt, pepper or more spice if desired.
- Ladle chili into bowls and serve with optional accompaniments.
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