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Outrageously Good Turkey Vegetable Chili

Chili in a Bowl with Sour Cream and a Lime Slice
Outrageously Good Turkey Vegetable Chili

This recipe and photos were provided by Sally Roeckell of Table and Dish and were originally published at

You will not want to miss this week’s Heinen’s 4 PM Panic recipe. Almost everyone I know has made or has at least tasted turkey chili. But, this turkey chili is in a whole different league. It’s outrageously good! So what makes this so good? Chili is chili right? Nope, keep reading.

The beauty of chili is that anything goes. It’s a blank canvas that allows you to be creative and adapt the dish to your preferences. The basic recipe starts with meat, tomatoes and beans with chili pepper. My family agrees that after 20+ years of chili experiments, THIS is the very best chili I have ever made.

It starts with lean ground turkey. Because turkey has less flavor than ground beef I like to add a variety of beans and veggies. Today I added onions, corn, garbanzo beans (or chick peas), black beans and red pepper but sometimes I add zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes. Get crazy and make this recipe your way. I recommend making it the first time EXACTLY as it is here because these flavors work together so well. Then next time add or subtract to make it your own.

Beans and Corn

My three secret ingredients have made all the difference. Port, enchilada sauce and cream cheese, crazy right? Also, little things like the combination of both yellow and red onion makes a subtle difference.

Many turkey chili recipes call for chicken broth, so I decided to replace the chicken broth with Tawny Port. Truth is it was sitting on the kitchen counter and I decided to add it impulsively. That’s usually how I roll when I’m cooking. It worked wonderfully. The port added a sweetness and complexity to the overall flavor. Don’t worry, the alcohol will cook off so it’s safe to feed your little ones.

My second secret ingredient is mild enchilada sauce. Just pour in one small can. It just works! Try it and you’ll see.

Lastly, cream cheese adds a slight creaminess and a tang that rounds off the spices beautifully. It may seem like a crazy mixed bag of ingredients but it works and the pot emptied quickly. My favorite way to eat it is topped with fresh avocado, a dollop of sour cream and a small squeeze of lime.


  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey or chicken (99%)
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tawny port
  • 1 small can of mild enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 brick (4 oz) Philadelphia cream cheese softened and room temperature
  • 1 (15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Optional toppings: cheese, avocado, lime, tortilla chips, cilantro, sour cream


  • Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic and red pepper and sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Next add in ground turkey and break up the meat; cooking until no longer pink.
  • Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper, and salt; stir for about 20 seconds.
  • Next add in tomatoes, port, kidney beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together.
  • Just before serving whisk the the softened cream cheese into the chili. Stir to fully incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary. Garnish as desired.

Note: To make this recipe in the slow cooker: Brown the turkey and onions before adding to the slow cooker. This is a great tailgating or football party recipe! Enjoy!

Turkey Chili in a Bowl

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Heinen's logo in black
By Heinen's Grocery Store
In 1929, Joe Heinen opened the doors of a small butcher shop on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, aiming to establish himself as the city’s purveyor of quality meats. As customers came into Heinen’s new shop for their meat purchases, they began asking him to carry groceries as well. Joe added homemade peanut butter, pickles and donuts and by 1933, business had grown enough to include a line of produce and canned goods. Heinen’s Grocery Store was born.

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