Free Range Turkey Leftovers = Turkey Chili Recipe

Bill West, the master cook, who introduced me, in my formative food years, to Quiche Lorraine (at a Halloween Party) is responsible for this challenge. Bill put together a beautiful meal on Sunday. He said,” I found a good deal on a free range turkey.” Bill’s son’s girlfriend Crissy said, “Turkey, before Thanksgiving?” Turkey anytime is okay by me.  The vegetable compliment was puréed turnips, which look like potatoes, but weren’t as heavy and cranberry jelly with cranberries in it.  Then there was an apple pie for dessert. Okay, It was indescribably yummy.  The turkey must have lived a good life because the tenderness and fall-off-the-bone quality of the meat was superior.  Free range is not only humane, but also healthier.  Bill kindly donated leftovers to the kids and me. Bill said to me, “I want to read about what you are going to do with leftovers.”

This recipe for Turkey Chili is simmering on the stove behind me. Never mind left over Turkey soup!  I went south of the border for this one. Turkey Chili with chipotle chile en adobo calls for beer specifically Mexican Lager.  Not knowing anything about chipotle chile en adobo I made the trek to the grocery after looking up pictures of the cans and brand labels. No chipotle chile en adobo there.  Then I meandered over to the Midtown Market on Chicago and Lake Street.  (There are some Mexican food sellers there.)  That’s where I found them. It’s a great place for ethnic foods, fun gifts and lunch.

Okay, I am really full after chowing down on this easy to make chili.  Of note is the fact that chipotle chile en adobo is smoldering hot and smoky flavored. (Warning! After you cut one up, for the chili recipe, be sure to wash your hands. You don’t want to get even a little near your eyes. ¡Ay, caramba!) The recipe is a success and could feed four people.  Serve with the suggested avocado and sour cream.  I heated up some locally made flour tortillas and stuffed them with avocado.  This recipe is not for the faint of heart or children who weren’t raised on chili peppers.  The beer I found was Pacifico Clara and it’s a lager.  (Nice flavor.)

So for the cooler nights this one skillet dish I am thinkin’, this is a keeper. Let 30 below zero weather come!  


This most excellent recipe is from the food network


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 chipotle chile en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 1 tablespoon sauce

1 pound ground turkey (Or leftover)

1 (12-ounce) Mexican lager-style beer

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice

1 (15 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Sliced scallions, cilantro sprigs, avocado, sour cream, grated Monterey jack cheese, and/or tortilla chips, for garnish, optional


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile and sauce; cook 1 minute more. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes–crushing them through your fingers into the skillet–along with their juices and the beans; bring to a boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the garnishes of your choice.

Cook’s Note: A skillet’s larger surface area reduces sauces faster than simmering in a saucepan. Retrieved October 11, 2010.

About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Credits: Do not own a microwave oven and never have. Do not own a food processor. Chopped veggies in a Zen monastery for a weekend. (Seriously) Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
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