Favorite Turkey Chili

Can you fall in love with a market?

For me, it began [bleep] years ago with a high school English assignment.  I chose the option to illustrate a song with photos and needed to find a merchant who would “roll his awning down” in a proxy Morning Morgantown.


        When morning comes to Morgantown,
            the merchants roll their awnings down
        The milk trucks make their morning rounds
            in morning, Morgantown 
         (Joni Mitchell)

My parents immediately thought of Larry’s Brown Deer Market, a historic specialty food store in a nearby town.  I got my photo… and the rest is history.

From then on we ate their cheeses—the beginning of a livelong addiction to love affair with cheese; we gave their gift baskets—to carpool drivers and favorite teachers; and as an adult I made an additional transcendent discovery—they make amazing soups.  In my corporate madness days, these were a godsend and graced everything from formal dinners to emergency family meals.

A few years back, I was delighted when they shared a recipe for their turkey chili (one of our favorites) in a local newspaper.  I make it with ground beef rather than turkey (since local organic grass-fed beef is easier to find than organic free range ground turkey) and I’m sure I have tweaked it some, but the essence is theirs!

Turkey Chili


  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey or beef
  • 1/4 c chili powder
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, diced
  • ½ bunch of celery, diced
  • 1 or 2  15 oz cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (depending on how meaty you want the chili; I use the equivalent of 2 cans–made from dried beans)
  • 1 can (46 ounces) tomato juice
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce to taste


1.  In large, heavy-bottomed pot, cook meat over medium heat until cooked through. Drain excess fat if needed.

2.  Stir in chili powder, onion and celery.  Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Stir in garbanzo beans, tomato juice, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer an additional 30 minutes.

4.  Season as desired with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce.  Top, as desired, with onions, cheese, or any of your favorite chili accompaniments.


Mmmm, chili and cornbread… perfect for shaking off the last chill of winter!  Do you have a favorite late winter dish (or a secret market love)?

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9 thoughts on “Favorite Turkey Chili

  1. Agatha

    Nice post!!! Plus food looks so lovely! Ideal recipe, as I have all ingredients at home. I just possibly replace garbanzo beans with chick peas – if it’s not the same anyway.

  2. Inger Wilkerson

    Nancy & YummyChunklet–esp now that the upper Midwest has winter again!

    Agatha–yes you are right, garbanzo beans and chickpeas are the same. I would expect you could do other beans too although I think these are a nice change from kidney beans. Don’t you love recipes where you have all the ingredients!?

  3. grace

    my family would have a conniption if i made chili with anything but beef, but i would enjoy a turkey version! this looks great–i love the chickpeas, two cans for me! 🙂

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