Turkey Chili Verde


I must admit that I am a little reluctant to share this recipe. It’s near and dear to my heart so perhaps I should want to show it off, but then it’s also become something of a signature recipe in our house. We have served it to most of our friends and family at one time or another, and everyone who has tasted it loves it. We also have to search high and low for some of the ingredients, as they aren’t always readily available in the suburbs of Boston. So I confess that I have guarded this recipe a little jealously, as it is OUR recipe.

Really, I should just get over myself, it’s not as if we even developed the recipe ourselves, although it has evolved somewhat since it came into our possession. It originally came from a chili cookbook on my sister-in-law’s bookshelf, and if I could remember the name of the book, anybody could look it up for his or herself. But there is something about this dish that signifies us – my husband and me and our life together. The southwestern flavours are reminiscent of our time in the Southwest, where we met and fell in love. It isn’t gourmet, but it is comfort food at its best and our household is one that prizes comfort over formality. Every fall, we make vats of it for the freezer, and every time I eat it, I feel cozy and warm. It’s a little like slipping into your favourite jeans and sweatshirt and cozying up on the couch with a dog-eared copy of your favourite book, while your loved one does the same. It’s just THAT kind of recipe. The one you go back to again and again, the one you never get sick of, no matter how often you have it.

Now, with that build up, I’d better just give you the recipe and let you decide for yourself. If you love it, you know who to thank. If you don’t…well, there is no accounting for taste!


Turkey Chili Verde

2 pounds fresh tomatillos or 3 18oz cans of whole tomatillos, drained
2 large onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp ground cumin
4 pounds ground turkey
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 4oz cans mild green chilies, drained
1 tbsp cornmeal
1 14oz can white beans, rinsed and drained OR 1 1/2 cups dried white beans, cooked
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 canned whole chipotle chilies in adobo, minced

In a blender or food processor, puree the fresh or canned tomatillos. Set aside.

Heat the oil in large stockpot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and five of the garlic cloves and saute until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and stir for another 30 seconds.

Add turkey and continue to stir, breaking up lumps with the back of your spoon, until turkey is cooked and no pinkness remains. Add tomatillo puree, broth, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper.

Simmer mixture, uncovered, for one hour. Add the bell pepper, green chilies and cornmeal and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.

Add beans and remaining garlic and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes or until beans are heated through. Add more salt to taste.

Discard bay leaf. Stir in cilantro and minced chipotle chilies. Or you can do as we do, and add the chipotle to the individual servings, so that those with less tolerance for heat (aka my children) can go without.

Serves 6-8. It’s great garnished with shredded cheese, fresh avocado and a little sour cream.

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  1. Jelly Shot Test Kitchen says

    This looks spendid – delicious, low-carb, yet filling enough that my husband will love it too! I have exactly one chile recipe to my name – from David Kirsch's Ultimate Body plan – that I make over, and over and over. Looking forward to expanding my chile repetoire with this gem as the weather gets colder!

  2. she's cookin' says

    Although I make my chili with ground turkey I've never made a green chili, so this is one I'll have to try. Sounds delicious!

  3. Carolyn says

    I really hope you all try this. If you do, please come back and let me know what you think! Amanda, I KNOW you and Dave like it. If you can find tomatillos in Vancouver. Good luck with that!

  4. The Mom Chef says

    I totally understand not wanting to pass along a recipe that has so much personal meaning to you and am grateful that you were willing to anyhow. It looks delicious and I can't wait to taste it and make a toast to your and your family while we eat.

  5. Stella says

    Yum, this looks wonderful! Sometimes I'm amazed at how food can make me want it just by looking at it on a computer screen (smile). Sweet of you to post it too;)

  6. Kim Kelly says

    This will be a favorite for my husband… he loves chili and tomatillos. This is one that might even work for the kids! They are getting a tad more willing to try new things.

  7. Edna says

    This is amazing! I can't thank you enough for sharing this. Friends and Family LOVED IT. There wasn't a drop left (I'm thinkin' my brother licked the pan)

  8. Carolyn says

    Edna, I am so glad you tried it and that it was a hit. It's such a good, tasty, wholesome recipe, and it's probably one of the few foods that I could eat every day.

  9. Catherine H. says

    This was excellent. I loved the tang of the tomatillos. The only chage I made was shredded chicken in place of the ground turkey. It will become a favorite and a regular for sure–and I don't say that lightly–I am neurotic about never making "the same old thing"–it's practically a sickness and it makes a lot of extra work for me. But maybe this chili will help me break the habit. Even my super-picky 15 mo. old loved it!

  10. Mat in Scotland says

    Great simple recipe!

    I couldn't track down tomatillos today but 2x 24oz salsa verde worked nicely as a substitute. Didn't add salt because the salsa had plenty.

    Will need to try it with the real thing next time!

  11. says

    Hi Carolyn,
    I use your site so often that I thought I had seen all of your recipes but somehow I missed this one. I am making this tomorrow to take to our “Soup-er Saturday” party that we throw each month in the Fall. Just know that as we enjoy YOUR soup I will tell everyone about you because I really do understand how you feel about this recipe. I am so happy that you shared it! Thank you!

  12. Elise says

    I love chili verde so, this looks amazing!

    Can you tell me if the corn meal is necessary? I’m intolerant to corn.

    Also, do you have a carb count on this?


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