Turkey chili.

This weekend we finally had a moment to spare, a few minutes to sit down and breathe and look at the baby, who’s now pulling himself up on things to peer over them, and who suddenly switched from picky to pleased when it comes to the food set before him.

I don’t know where the time went. I have a job now, one I think I’m going to really like and not just because of the office’s close proximity to cheap bibimbap and fresh-baked cinnamon buns. Creditors are starting to get paid. I might even buy a pair of shoes.

We lost summer and fell into autumn, and, semi-concerned about potentially starving come winter should no job ever materialize for me, I spent most of the cusp of two seasons pickling and preserving, putting up jars of tomato sauce, pears, applesauce, jam, and jar after jar of hot peppers and pickly things. I made soups and stews for the freezer, bought cheap produce direct from the farm and inexpensive cuts of meat from the butcher, and ran out of places to store food. If I were an animal, I’d be the noble hamster.

Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, so we also had leftover turkey to make the most of. Bored with the idea of turkey soup and having had too many turkey sandwiches, I decided a pot of chili would give new life to the leftovers and keep us in lunches for the next few days. It’s a white chili, because some of us have eaten our body weight in tomatoes lately. The best thing about this recipe is that it calls for green chilies, but because I was at work and we only had fresh peppers, I had to ask Nick to roast them and peel them for me. And he did it, perfectly. The baby is crawling and standing, I’m back to work, and Nick is roasting chilies, and everyone is a better version of himself than even just a few weeks ago.

Turkey chili with black-eyed peas

(Serves 6.)

  • 2 to 4 Anaheim chilies (or 2 poblano peppers)
  • 4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, minced (remove seeds and membranes if you prefer a milder chili)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chopped cooked turkey
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 19 oz. (398mL) cans of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

Turn your oven’s broiler to high, and place whole chilies directly onto the rack, under the heating element. You’ll need to stick close and watch them so they don’t burn. When skin is charred and blistered on one side, turn 90 degrees. Continue until all sides have blackened and blistered. Place in a glass container with a lid, and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. Gently rub skin from peppers – it should slough right off.

In a large pot over medium heat, brown bacon until crispy. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels. Add olive oil. (Fat is delicious.)

Add jalapeno peppers, onion, celery, the white and light green parts of the scallions, and the garlic. Saute until colours have brightened, the add bay leaves, salt, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, black pepper, and marjoram.

Chop your peeled chilies, and add these to the pot as well.

Add flour and cornmeal, and stir until the mixture coats your veggies. Add the turkey and the cooked bacon, then the stock and milk. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil.

Add beans. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.

Add corn, and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve topped with the green part of the scallions, chopped, and grated cheddar cheese.

5 thoughts on “Turkey chili.

  1. I’ve missed your articles and recipes Em. So glad everything is falling in place. I wish I had been the lucky recipient of turkey leftovers to enjoy all the wonderful soups and sandwiches you speak of. My favourite part of “Thanks”giving.


  2. Judy – I hope there is turkey and turkey leftovers in your future yet … there’s still December!

    Gayle – if you make it, let me know how you liked it!

    Rootie – leftover turkey soup has its place, but sometimes it just doesn’t hit the spot. This should do it. I’m going to add more chilies next time.

    Mango – no number of Ls is too many in this case.


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