Friday, August 26, 2011

Turkey Chili

In Honolulu, where I grew up, there's a chain of restaurants called Zippy's that my friends and I frequented quite often. High-brow it wasn't, but it was a few notches above fast food and a lot of them were open 24/7, which came in handy for those late night meals to soak up the alcohol you weren't supposed to be drinking (sorry, mom!). They were known around the island for having the best beef chili served with a side of sticky white rice, which was my order of choice. It was so popular that they started shipping it everywhere in frozen packets, mainly, I suspect, for all the college students that had landed in the "mainland" and missed their chili fix like I did.

Even to this day, chili is one of my favorite comfort foods, and this recipe for a healthier version, made with turkey, is one of the best I've made. It comes from Alice's Tea Cup, a charming restaurant in Manhattan and is said to have a "cult following" among their clientele. Make a big batch of it this weekend--it's perfect hurricane food. The leftovers will taste even better after a day or two. xo

Turkey Chili
Adapted from Alice's Tea Cup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 pounds ground turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1 small onion)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery (about 1 large stalk celery)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups unseasoned tomato sauce (I used organic Muir Glen brand)
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (from one 14-ounce can)
1 15.5-ounce can black beans
1 15.5-ounce can navy beans
1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and saute until it is lightly browned but not burned, about 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and set the turkey aside.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large soup pot or Dutch oven, and saute the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic until softened, about 8-10 minutes (be careful not to burn them).

Add the tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Add all the beans to the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the turkey and cook for 20 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.


  1. I'm not a big chili eater but this looks very tasty. We're having a heat wave over in So Cal so I'll have to try this when it gets a little cooler.

  2. P.S. If it's easy enough could you add a "Print Friendly" button to your page? It would be so helpful in printing out all your yummy recipes. Thanks!

  3. Hi Jac--yes, will work on that! Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. This sounds so delicious! Definitely gonna try it!


  5. how do we not have a Zippy's on the Big Island?

  6. thanks for the recipe, it looks so delicious ^^

  7. Plami, let me know how it goes!

    Gwen, I thought Zippy's was everywhere in HI! That's totally not fair. :(