Turkey Bean Chili

My mom made me a big fan of chili growing up. I used to sneak into the kitchen while it was simmering and steal bites from the pot. Then she would say, “Oh babe! I didn’t even put the beans in it yet! Let me do that now.” Then, voila, time to eat! Now I make chili in all sorts of weather, generally once a week. I have made white chicken, beef, three bean and even zucchini chili, but this recipe is my favorite. Of course, adjust the seasoning to your preferred spice level. You can add cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder or other chili powders you love. This recipe makes a mild chili, which works for my family right now with the young-uns.

Turkey Bean Chili
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-5
  • 1½ cups jasmine rice
  • 2½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I use 93% lean Nature's Promise brand)
  • 2 tablespoons dark chili powder (I use McCormick brand, see Note on spices)
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 28 oz. can tomato puree
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • Garnishes: tortilla chips, chopped scallions, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, hot sauce, picked jalapenos (Mt. Olive brand are the best!)
  • Special equipment: Rice cooker. We have used our Panasonic rice cooker for 10 years and it never fails. One button and you get perfect rice every time.
  1. Add rice and water to rice cooker, cover and turn on.
  2. Bring a 4-quart or larger pot or Dutch oven up to medium-high heat with vegetable oil.
  3. Add onions, green peppers, red peppers and a pinch of salt and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add turkey and immediately start breaking it up and mixing everything together with a wooden spoon. Re-season with a pinch of salt.
  5. Add chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika and continue to saute and stir everything until the vegetables become soft and the turkey meat looks opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add almost all of the can of tomato puree, leave about ¼ cup in the can. Season with a pinch of salt. (Salting in stages builds flavor.)
  7. Add corn and drained and rinsed beans, bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Taste for seasoning. Needs more heat? Chili powder or cayenne pepper. Smokiness? Smoked paprika or cumin. Good to go? Serve over hot jasmine rice with the garnishes you love. Enjoy!

 Notes: A word about spices. I love freshly ground spices and use them a lot in my cooking. I order 95% of my spices from Penzeys. In this recipe, you’ll see I use chili powder, smoked Spanish paprika and ground cumin. I must admit, the chili powder is a great deal from McCormick (I get the big bottle at BJ’s–I know, do I think I run a restaurant? But we do go through it!) The rest are from Penzeys. You can start by adding the amounts I have indicated here and add more if necessary. I have family members that like all different parts of the spice spectrum, so I go mild and add spice depending on my guests.

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