Turkey Leftovers? 4-Chile Turkey Chili!

Accidental Locavore Turkey ChiliAfter the first round of sandwiches, the Accidental Locavore is always looking for interesting uses for turkey leftovers. Since there was an early influx of leftovers from making gravy with a bunch of wings, I shredded the meat and used it for a (not-very-authentic) version of chili. This was pretty free-form, so use it as a starting point (and don’t let all the ingredients scare you, I just used what was in the house). Made about 3 big bowls.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 poblano chile, diced
  • 1 serrano chile, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ancho chile
  • 1 chipotle chile
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup dark beer (Guinness)
  • 1 small can tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded turkey
  • 1 small can kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder or 1 tablespoon grated unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (Mexican if you have it)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped cilantro and grated cheddar for garnish

In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, poblano, serrano chile and garlic and stir to coat with the oil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Remove the cover and sauté until they are well caramelized and reduced by about ½.

While the onions are cooking, briefly toast the ancho and chipotle chiles in a small fry pan over medium heat, about a minute on each side. Remove from heat and rehydrate in a small bowl of boiling water for 20 minutes. Slice into 1/8″ strips.

Add the chile powder, cumin and coriander to the onion mix and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the beer and deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Cook for about 5 minutes until the alcohol has cooked out.

Add the tomatoes (breaking them up if you use whole tomatoes), turkey, beans, brown sugar, chocolate and oregano. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Bring to a boil, then to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro and grated cheddar and enjoy!

My verdict: Not at all authentic, but tasted great and satisfied my craving for chili! As I said in the introduction, this looks like a lot of ingredients, but it was all stuff I had in the house, so I just tossed it in. I think it was a little sweet with the brown sugar, so I added about a tablespoon of cider vinegar to cut some of the sweetness. The chocolate and beer add a nice depth of flavor, but, again, you can leave them out—although I’d probably add a little chicken broth to replace the beer.




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