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Ground Turkey Chili

First Published in the Amherst Citizen - Oonagh's Kitchen (Jan. 11, 2000)

Now that the holidays are over, we are all probably lean of pocket but slightly more rotund around the waist. This recipe will cope with both these problems. And for all the men who don't think ground turkey is real food, and that real men don't eat quiche, try this and see. Ground turkey is very reasonably priced in the stores (mainly because not enough people buy it). I normally buy it in a frozen 1lb tube (Shenandoah brand by Purdue for about $1/ lb) and keep several in the freezer. With the amount of delicious meals I cook for clients and with students, I look on ground turkey and vegetarian meals as a way of lowering a week's calories to a more acceptable level.

Try using ground turkey in your recipes that have plenty of seasoning. I also make ground turkey burgers with a middle eastern flavor (previously printed in summer edition of New Hampshire Seasons), barbecued turkey pasta and pizza and turkey meat balls Normandy with apples, onions and garlic. So if you want to hold onto more of your money as well as reduce the waistline, give this recipe a try. This is a mild chili with lots of flavor and a slight bite, as I really don't see the point of a chili that burns your mouth so you can't appreciate the taste.


1 lb. ground turkey, thawed
1 medium onion peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
1/4 teaspoon chili powder - do be careful, some recipes call for tablespoons of chili powder - it really does depend on the brand (and therefore type of pepper) as to the heat level. The one I use is very hot. You can always add some Tabasco sauce at the end to make it hotter.
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. cumin - not a hot spice
2 tsp. sweet/mild paprika (optional - it adds to flavor)
1 tsp. ground coriander (optional - it adds to flavor)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 c water and chicken concentrate or 3 c stock
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 lb. can cannillini beans (white kidney beans) drained and rinsed. Personally, I don't like red kidney beans and this is meant to be a white chili
1 x 11-oz. can sweet corn or frozen corn (use freshly roasted corn in summer)
1 green pepper deseeded and chopped - optional
2-tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp. water
Freshly chopped cilantro - optional


1. In a 2-3 qt pan, brown turkey, onion and garlic with no additional oil.

2. Add chili, sugar, oregano, cumin, paprika and cinnamon, mix well and cook for additional 2 minutes.

3. Add water and chicken concentrate or chicken stock, mustard, beans and corn.

4. Bring to the boil, cover and turn down to a simmer for 25 minutes.

5. Add cornstarch blended with water, bring back to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for additional three minutes.

6. Add green pepper and cook for additional three minutes.

Serve in bowls with grated Monterey Jack or pepper jack, and soft pita bread. Add chopped fresh cilantro if you like.
Note: I did try out a packet of McCormick Mild Chili seasoning (50c) for those of you that understandably don't have shelves full of spices. All it added was mild heat and no flavor, to me it really only tasted like a gravy powder mix with a touch of chili. I didn't add salt because I don't find it necessary. Your preference.

Inside scoop! If you who watched me demonstrate this chili on WMUR's Cooks' Corner on Wednesday 12 January, you probably remember Senator Bill Bradley being interviewed by Tom Griffin. Well, once they finished talking, Senator Bradley 'snuck back' across the WMUR TV studio and took a bowl of this chili because it smelled so good!

Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers a Personal Chef service, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, and makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.

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Last modified: January 26, 2000
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