The Blizzard of 2015 didn’t deliver quite the wallop that the weathermen predicted, but it’s still cold outside, right? Even here in South Florida, the temperatures at night have dipped into the 40s! We’re talking frigid, people.
So it’s the perfect weather for a big pot of chili. Turkey-tomatillo is one of our favorites. Instead of a traditional tomato-based, ground-beef loaded, kidney-bean-dense variety, this version has turkey, tomatillos, smoky chipotles, green chilies, poblano and jalape?o peppers. I use canned great northern beans to add even more substance — and since they’re canned, this isn’t an all day soaking and cooking event. In fact, you can make this in a little over a hour! Bonus!
The result is a hearty stew with an subtle, slightly smoky heat. For more heat, you could add a pinch of red pepper flakes or more chipotle and adobo sauce, but beware — that $#!* is hot! A bit of cornmeal at the end of cooking creates that thick, chili-like mouth feel.
For me, chili isn’t chili without the toppings. Crispy tortillas, creamy avocado, sour cream, jack cheese, extra jalape?os, sliced green onions, fresh cilantro, a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce — even a handful of Frito’s work! Growing up, my Mom would serve her chili on top of spaghetti — a real stick to your ribs favorite!
This is one of those dishes that makes its way onto our table at least 3-4 times every fall/winter and for good reason. It’s so satisfying.
Tomatillo Turkey Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon powdered adobo seasoning optional
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder or other chili powder
- 2 pounds ground turkey I use one pound extra lean and one pound regular
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 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 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 green bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 poblano pepper seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and diced
- 1 4 ounce can green chilies
- 1 15 ounce can great northern beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup chopped cilantro + more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon corn meal
- salt and pepper to taste
- shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
- diced green onion
- diced avocado
- sour cream
- sliced jalapeños
- tortilla chips
- hot sauce
In a large dutch oven heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, garlic and salt. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are softened and fragrant. Stir in cumin, adobo, chili powder and cook 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. Add oregano and bay leaves, continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
While turkey is simmering, place tomatillos, chipotle pepper (and a teaspoon of sauce from the canned peppers if desired) into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Add chicken broth and blend to the consistency of a salsa.
Pour tomatillo mixture into the turkey and stir. Add bell pepper, poblano, jalapeño and can of green chilies and stir. Bring mixture to a boil. Place lid on the pot so that it's mostly covered but steam can still escape. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.
Stir in beans and cornmeal. 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.