Turkey Chili

[As a public service, bumped this forward from last year…Happy Thanksgiving!! A.L.]

OK, Joe wants to know what to do with all the leftover turkey. Variants on this recipe (hey, I’m not giving away all my secrets) have won three (out of four entered) chili cookoffs over the last ten years.
12 cups turkey chunks (leftovers, stripped off the carcass; leave off membrane/tendon where possible)
2 large yellow onions
3 heads of garlic
2 packages Carroll Shelby chili mix
2 27oz cans of red kidney beans
1 27 oz can pinto beans
1/2 cup canola oil
3 8oz bottles of beer (I use Henry Weinhardt, but any sub-premium beer would do)
1/4 cup tequila
4 oz Mexican chocolate
4 tbsp Chinese chili-garlic paste
approx 1/4 cup masa harina
1/4 lb turkey (or real) bacon
salt to taste

Strip the carcass, pile the chunks on a cutting board, chop them into 1″ cubes and put them aside.

Coarsely chop the onion and garlic.

Chop turkey (or real) bacon into 1/2″ strips. Saute in a large stockpot until partially cooked.

Add about 1/8 cup of oil, add onions and garlic, cook until soft – but not translucent.

Add turkey, stir and cook for approx 10 minutes over very low heat (just above simmer).

Add remainder of oil, add chili mix (reserve masa in mix as well as salt). Stir and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Add chili-garlic sauce to taste.

Add enough beer to cover meat. Lower temp to simmer and let cook for 2 hours.

Remove from heat, let it cool, and refrigerate overnight.

Put pot back on stove at simmer, heat until simmering. It’s helpful here to have a diffuser (metal plate that goes under the pot) if you have a gas range.

Add drained beans (drain liquid in can before adding them to the mix).

Add mexican chocolate and tequila. Stir until chocolate is melted.

Add salt to taste.

Cook for 2 – 3 hours, until the liquid is almost cooked off and what remains is thick.

Add masa harina. Cook for 2 hours.

Season to taste, using cayenne for heat, brown sugar and masa harina to temper the heat if too hot.

Somehow the two-stage cooking process is key to making this work. Somehow the flavors meld much better in the fridge.

Make some cornbread and enjoy!

11 thoughts on “Turkey Chili”

  1. Actually, Canada’s Thanskgiving was LAST month. But a question: this recipe is made with uncooked turkey.

    How does this recipe change when you’re using leftovers, which are presumably already cooked?

  2. Sorry for the confusion, I was thrown by all that addditional cooking… surprised the already-cooked turkey stands up to it, but I guess the moisture and low heat are the keys.

  3. I improved on Armed’s recipe! 🙂
    In Colorado, we buy 50# gunny sacks of New Mexican Hatch chilis from street vendors, and they get roasted on the spot. We repackage them in smaller ziplocs and toss them in the freezer. I added about 3-4 pounds of chilis, thawed, cut-up and stripped of the char and seeds, with the onions and garlic.
    And of course I swapped those Henry Weinharts for Coronas!
    To die for!

  4. I live in Texas and my wife has won a number of regional Chili cookoffs, so I have some basis for
    this comment:

    Chili is a MEAT dish, putting beans in it makes it a “hate crime”.

  5. Yes, I saw that. What are “linings”? If you aren’t
    sweating enough, after eating some “genuine” chili,
    to put out, at a minimum, a two alarm fire, then you
    really haven’t had Texas Chili. /sarcasm off

    Seriously, the “heat” is not the point (my wife won
    one cookoff with a chili which included a not
    minor component of chocolate). Chili really is a “meat” dish. I don’t object to putting beans in it,
    but I do ask that you no longer call it Chili.

  6. Nice to see you around again Jinny…

    When I and my mates cook meals, generally we allow for a case of beer – not for cooking, but to keep us hydrated during the effort.

    From the geekish side, leaving the partly cooked chilly to rest overnight will allow moisture and oil to penetrate deep in the meat balancing the flavours. It’s a matter of multi-component solid/fluid solubility equilibria, you know. Any sauce or casserole tastes better the day after.

  7. Since I didn’t cook I have no leftovers this year, but it looks like something fun to try with leftover anything.

    Looks a little light on the chili paste (to this capsaicin junkie), though.  Does that mix work as a five-alarm version or do you need more than more pepper to make it work?

    Ted:  I’ll meet your chili and raise you one Thai curry.

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