Turkey Chili with White Beans

by Kirsten on March 8, 2011 · 24 comments

in Chicken, Main Dishes, Misc. Savory Dishes

Mr. Rockies’ number one food is beans. He actually eats some every day for lunch and is the happiest person in the world if he gets beans for dinner as well. Chili is one of his favorite dishes, but it has to be up to his standards since he is quite the Chili snob.

When we first met and I started cooking for the two of us he politely held back his opinion about my chili. Germans are actually not known for their outstanding chili and he ate what I served, even if the chili contained bell pepper which he truly dislikes. That is true love, right?

Many years have passed and after moving to the US, I discovered the ingredients a good chili has to have. This mouthwatering turkey chili with white beans, cumin, oregano and ancho chili includes some of them. Surprising flavors are brought to the chili with the addition of chocolate and cinnamon. I use good canned beans and have served this chili with ground turkey and ground beef. My family liked both variations, however, the ground turkey will definitely have less calories.

This turkey chili with white beans is very quick to assemble. Be sure to make a big batch since it tastes even better reheated! I think it’s an ideal dish to serve when you have a casual get together.

Serves 6-8.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey (or ground beef)
1/4 cup chili powder (I used ancho chili)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
3 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
3 15-ounce cans small white beans, rinsed, drained

Chopped red onion
Chopped fresh cilantro
Plain low-fat yogurt or light sour cream


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)

Ladle chili into bowls. Pass red onion, cilantro and yogurt separately.


Adapted from epicurious.com.

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Sarah Mizrach April 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Second time to make this awesome both times round’. Tonight I roasted chicken breast bone in about 30 minutes. Removed skin and bones cut into cubes, than added to chili stock pot after seasonings. Followed direction till, add & crumble the turkey, just added chicken and liquid quickly after. Turned out AWESOME original way & tonight. Thank you for sharing. I also served with honey corn bread muffins, perfect meal.

Cams March 22, 2011 at 8:45 am

Forget anything nothing but food…:)

scrambledhenfruit March 13, 2011 at 6:01 am

Sounds delicious! Beans are a staple here at my house too- we try to eat them often. 🙂

Stella March 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Hey Kirsten, besides looking delicious, this turkey chili is kind of beautiful! That color is so nice, and the bowls don't hurt anything either;-) Oh, and I'm totally with your husband on the bean thing (smile)…

jennaseverythingblog March 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Oooh, chocolate and cinnamon in chili–sounds unbelievably good! Chili is definitely something I haven't mastered yet, but I look forward to all the 'practice runs.' =)

Nuts about food March 11, 2011 at 7:58 am

Love the idea of cocoa in your recipe, back to its origins.
Also wanted to let you know that I linked to your blog and conversion table page (among other links) on my blog, with the name of your blog of course. I hope you don't mind, but I thought it was very clear and detailed. If you do mind, please let me know and I will delete the link. Thanks!

Tracy March 10, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Mmm, this sounds so hearty and delicious! Love it!

irishcoleen March 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Kirsten, you always have such beautiful photos of your food. They just make me want to immediately go to the kitchen and make whatever it is. I will definitely be making this for my "chili snob" husband. I'll keep you posted on the results 🙂

Mary March 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm

This just looks silly delicious! I must try! Lovvve turkey chili!

Great blog; happy I found you!

Mary xx
Delightful Bitefuls

Lea Ann March 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I probably haven't mentioned it, but I'm somewhat of a chili snob myself. Mine never comes out the same because I don't really have a recipe. I've been known to toss in some cocoa. And I do have a secret ingredient or two. Looks delicious Kirsten.

Elisabeth March 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Love your turkey chili, and the addition of the cocoa, and beef broth. Certainly gets more flavor from all the goodness of the spice combination.
Pretty pottery, as well, and lovely photos!

marla March 9, 2011 at 4:43 am

I love having big batches of recipes like this chili available at all times. Healthy and great for grab and go meals.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window March 9, 2011 at 2:45 am

We have been experimenting with chicken and turkey chili's for awhile now. (trying to eat less beef) We will try your version. Looks delicious and seems to be straight forward and easy. Thanks for another recipe worth trying.

uebernteich March 9, 2011 at 1:46 am

Almost ready for dinner!

THE OLD GEEZER March 9, 2011 at 12:24 am

Greetings from Southern California

I am your newest follower. I invite you to visit my blog and follow me if you want too.

God bless you 🙂


Karen Harris March 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm

My guys love beans too and could eat them everyday. You will have to tell Mr. Rockies that I once had a friend's chili in the UK that consisted of minced lamb and ketchup. We all loved her too and ate what we were given. I'm sure I got even with her with my American cups of tea. Great recipe Kirsten!

Susi March 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Schokolade und Zimt im Chili ist ein interessantes Konzept. Hoert sich aber echt lecker an. Muss mal Dein Rezept an meinem Chili Snob ausprobieren.
Great bowls Kirsten!

Kirsten March 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Ich mag Chili auch sehr, sehr gern, auch wenn ich ehrlich gesagt noch nie Paprika dafür verwendet hab ;o) Allerdings auch noch nie Schokolade oder Zimt – muss ich unbedingt mal ausprobieren!

Cooking Creation March 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I know a lot of people swear by it but I'm always hesitant to add chocolate to my chili. Maybe I should change that? I'm afraid it will be too strong. It looks delicious for sure! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College March 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I just found your blog and I love it! I also live in Colorado and your header picture is gorgeous 🙂 While I don't eat meat I really love a good bean chili, this recipe sounds great! I will definitely be back, I can't wait to see more posts.

Check out my blog sometime!

highplainsdrifters March 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Been using nothing but black and pinto all winter, so needed something with white beans to try. Cheers!

Chele March 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

They look great and with a chilli snob to hand you'll always know when they are up to scratch ;0)
Love the bowls too, very pretty!

Merut March 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

No peppers in chili? WHAT?! I kid. I love beans too and chili has rapidly become one of my favorite dishes, especially with ground turkey. This looks really good and easy to whip up. Yummy!

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