Pumpkin turkey chili recipe

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Turkey is a great healthy alternative to beef for chili, but turkey chilis often lack depth and richness. We wanted a chili with flavor bold enough that we wouldn’t miss the beef. To safeguard against rubbery turkey, we treated the meat with salt and baking soda, which helped it hold on to moisture. To give our dish a smoky, aromatic backbone, we made our own chili powder by grinding toasted ancho chiles, cumin, coriander, paprika, and oregano. We loaded the chili with red bell peppers and black beans for great textural contrast. Still, our chili needed more richness. We found the answer in a unique ingredient pumpkin puree. Folding this into the chili gave it a rich, silky texture and subtle squash-y flavor without being overly sweet. Be sure to use ground turkey, not ground turkey breast (also labeled 99 percent fat-free), in this recipe. When shopping for dried chiles, look for those that are pliable and smell slightly fruity. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.

  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Total Time: 2 Hours 45 Minutes


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ounce (about 4) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
How to Make It
  1. Toss turkey, 1 tablespoon water, ¼ teaspoon salt, and baking soda in bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Toast anchos in Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes, reducing heat if anchos begin to smoke. Transfer to food processor and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika, and 1 teaspoon pepper to food processor with anchos and process until finely ground, about 2 minutes; transfer mixture to bowl. Process tomatoes and their juice in now-empty processor until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  4. Heat oil in now-empty pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, bell peppers, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add turkey, and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in spice mixture and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, pumpkin, and remaining 2 cups water and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  5. Stir in beans, cover, and cook until slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. (If chili begins to stick to bottom of pot or looks too thick, stir in extra water as needed.) Season with salt to taste. Serve.

Comments are closed.