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L.A. Turkey-Veggie Chili

May 11, 2012

Ahhh, chili. One of the great American comfort foods. Every region has a strong allegiance to its own version. All-meat, meat with beans, vegetarian, different beans, different meat. It goes on and on.

Now you need to understand this. My Novio is a meat guy. Not a meat and potatoes guy. A meat guy. His favorites include, but are not limited to, steak, meat loaf, burgers, short ribs, and my sister Anny’s beef brisket – if it’s on the menu at a family dinner, and it is her specialty, after all,  you’re sure to bump into him at the buffet table.. What draws him, you ask? Take a lucky guess. Ding ding ding!

I, on the other hand, enjoy a more varied diet. Don’t get me wrong, I love lean red meat and even crave it at times. But I also love vegetables and like to have them pop up in all kinds of dishes in all kinds of ways. Thus this dish. Aiming to please both Novio and Novia of the household. And now, to please you too.

First, gather your ingredients and utensils, bowls and pan (a large, deep saute pan or a Dutch oven). I like using my wok-saute pan.

Black beans, pinto beans , red wine, tomatoes & a touch of cornmeal

I recently started adding cornmeal for not only complexity of flavor, but also for thickness.

Chop whatever needs chopping – first the veggies, and then while the chili simmers, the herbs.

Always onion and garlic, then add what you like…

In this case, carrots and red pepper. Or use red, yellow and orange peppers. Or carrots and zucchini. Or carrots and corn.

I begin by cooking the seasonings in hot oil just until fragrant, a minute or so. This step really enhances the depth of flavor in any dish.

Then I add the meat I’m using and saute quickly, breaking up the meat and continuing until most of the pinkness is gone. It will continue to cook along with the other ingredients.

As you cook meat, flatten it, then break it up.

I transfer the meat onto a glass pie plate (just because I like to). Then I add more oil to heat up and add the rest of the seasonings. All the chopped veggies go in at this point. After the veggies soften, I add the garlic.

happy veggies for chili

At this point, I return the meat back to pan as well as the tomatoes, wine, and all the other ingredients, including the beans. Simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour and you have yourself a delicious and satisfying chili.

Meat and veggies meet

Just 2 spoonfuls of cornmeal helps the chili along – in the most delightful way

Come & get it!

Why the moniker L.A. Turkey- Veggie Chili? Because I did  develop this dish right here in L.A. and because L. A. has that health-conscious vibe going on.

He likes it! He likes it!

This man just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

L.A. Turkey-Veggie Chili

1 lb. ground turkey
2 T. olive or grapeseed oil
2 t. cumin
2 T. chili powder
1/4 t. allspice
2-3 carrots, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 orange or yellow pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28-oz. can tomatoes with juice (or 2 14-oz. cans)
1/2 c. red wine or broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 T. stone-ground  cornmeal
1/2 t. dried oregano
1 t. Worcestershire sauce (or more to taste)
1 t. dark brown sugar
1 14-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 14-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
salt & pepper
2 T fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped


Chop all veggies first. Season turkey with salt & pepper. Mix chili powder, cumin and allspice in small bowl.

Heat pan, then add 1 T. oil until hot. Add half the spices from the small bowl. Stir 1 minute with wooden spoon until fragrant.

Add meat and saute until just barely brown, flattening it in pan, then breaking it up. Depending on your preference, break into smaller or larger size chunks. Transfer to pie plate or dish.

Add another T. oil to pan, scraping up all bits. Add the remaining spices from small bowl. Saute i minute until fragrant. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add all other vegetables, except garlic and saute  3-5 minutes until tender. Add garlic and saute 1 more minute. Season with salt & pepper.

Return turkey back to pan add stir through.

Pour in tomatoes, wine, Worcestershire. Bring to boil, then down to simmer. Sprinkle cornmeal, oregano and brown sugar over chili and stir through.

Simmer, with cover askew for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Adjust seasonings for heat level.

Serve with fresh herbs sprinkled on top.  Serving options: with brown rice, short pasta, potatoes, pita chips, or simply by itself.

Also: Chili + Salad = Excellent Meal

Makes 6- 8 servings.

bb notes:

Be creative with your chili to make it yours. Think about using varied amounts of seeded and diced jalapeno, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper, smoked paprika, and different types of chili powder.

I like using a combo of beans. I  prefer black & pinto beans, but try any combo or just use one kind (pinto, kidney, white kidney, black).


From → Mains, Poultry, Veggies

  1. Jean permalink

    Hi Judy,
    We do have similar food taste. This is a chili that I make often. Now I’ll check my recipe to see how yours varies, because they are quite similar. Mine includes frozen corn along with the beans. This is a great meal, even for company.
    Love, Jean

  2. Karen permalink

    i have been looking for a recipe to spice up my ground turkey repertoire- can’t wait to try this! 🙂

  3. Andra permalink

    Looks sooo delicious Judy!!! Something makes me think that there were cornbread muffins accompanying this meal 🙂 Love the picture of Joel!!!

  4. Laura permalink

    Thanks juju for a great recipe…am doing this in slow cooker so will let you know how it turns out…only thing is I browned the meat first with the dry spices before adding it to the crockpot..can’t do raw meat in slow cooker..

  5. Laura permalink

    This turned out very delicious via crockpot…veggies were still a bit al dente even after being there for 12 hours….maybe cuz this slow cooker has been around for 20 + years ….anyway after warming up in oven for guests, all was right with the world as the veggies softened up…..I also used two pounds of turkey but forgot to double the spice amounts, so it was a bit light..since friends couldn’t eat spicy foods , this turned out well…thanks for a great recipe…
    You know who 🙂

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