White Turkey Chili

I have returned from weeks of travel to a Virginia that is bitterly cold.  Ugh.  I hate the cold.  But I am very happy to be back in my kitchen.  This is the time of year for a lot of one pot meals.  And I continue on my quest to use things out of my freezer.  Cross 1.5 lbs of turkey cutlets and 2 cups of organic chicken broth off the freezer inventory.  Of course I’ll probably end up adding one container of white turkey chili back to the inventory, but I’ll be glad of that on some particularly exhausting day to come.

My pursuit of the perfect white turkey chili actually started nearly 15 years ago.  Long, long ago I worked in the Tysons Corner office of a law firm.  On the lobby level of our building was a little lunch place that served the best white turkey chili I’ve ever had.  Since then I’ve been trying to recreate it.  It had chunks of turkey, instead of ground, and little pearl onions, whole.  I remember the flavor as smoky and peppery, but not spicy hot and with a creamy base of white beans.  Tonight I decided to create one of my own.  It’s different than the one I remember, but it might be my new favorite.

I did use cutlets instead of ground turkey.  And I did use white beans.  I abandoned the pearl onions this time in favor of diced yellow onions and lots of diced green chiles.  I’m a big fan of cumin so there’s a lot of that too.  A little salt and pepper and you’re done.  It’s the yummiest chili I’ve had in a while and only four ingredients!

I did mine on the stove top, but I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t do it in the crock pot if you wanted.  I prefer to brown the turkey first.  To get the creamy texture you puree some white beans with some stock and add it back to the pot.  One note about that.  Some people insist that when you make a puree like this to thicken a soup that you have to pull the beans out of the soup pot so that you don’t dilute the flavor when you add the puree back to the pot.  I find that this is a huge pain.  It’s too hard to fish the beans out of a pot that has a bunch of other stuff in it.  I just used half a can of white beans right out of the can.  Using the stock out of the soup part imparts plenty of flavor.  You don’t need a lot of this so it’s easiest to do with an immersion blender in a medium sized bowl.  A regular blender works fine too.  It’s just more trouble to clean.

The green chiles give this a slow warm heat, but you might prefer something with a little more kick.  I serve mine with plenty of green Tabasco and some fresh cracked pepper.  It would be nice served with corn muffins and/or a salad of Winter greens with a light citrus dressing.

Good? Very good. Very.
Easy? Very easy. Very.
Good for company? For a casual movie night or an afternoon of football, absolutely.
Special shopping? Nope.

White Turkey Chili


1 T plus 1 tsp canola oil
1.5 lbs turkey cutlets
2 small onions, diced
2 small cans diced green chiles
2 C chicken or turkey stock
2 cans, plus 1/2 can, cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Jalapeno Tabasco for serving


Cut the turkey cutlets into 1/2 inch diced pieces. Heat 1 T of the oil in a medium stock pot until it begins to smoke. Add the turkey and brown. Remove the turkey, and any juice that may be in the pot, and set aside. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and green chiles. Saute 2-3 minutes or until you can smell the chiles. Return the turkey and any juice to the pot along with the stock and 2 cans of the beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer 30 minutes. Put the remaining 1/2 can beans in a medium sized bowl or blender and add about 1/2 C of the soup broth. Blend until smooth. Add more broth if need be to reach a consistency that will just pour. Add the bean puree to the pot and stir to incorporate. Heat another 5 minutes. Serve with several dashes of green Tabasco if desired.


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