Hearty Turkey Chili

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This time of year things are always very busy at work. I am constantly looking for something that is easy to make and works well as leftovers. I like to make a few meals on Sunday that I can reheat during the week.

One of the first recipes I ever made on my own from scratch was this chili recipe. For years I have been cooking this recipe because I have yet to find another turkey chili recipe that is as thick, hearty or delicious. While I generally make this chili the same every time, I like that you can add or subtract ingredients to make it your own. Add a diced jalapeno for a little spice or Italian sausage for a meaty dish. Since this chili gets better with age and reheats well it works perfect as leftovers.

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Yields about 6 to 8 servings

Hearty Turkey Chili
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  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • dash of salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ¼ cup Merlot or other fruity red wine
  • 1 (28oz) can whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (15oz) cans kidney beans, drained


  1. Heat a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, onion, and green bell pepper. Cook about 8 minutes or until the turkey is cooked through, stirring to crumble.
  2. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, dried oregano, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes and kidney beans. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
  4. Garnish with cheese and sour cream, if desired.

adapted from Cooking Light, January 2003