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Turkey Chili

Ghost Pepper Turkey Chili

A perfectly balanced, smoky and spicy turkey chili made entirely from scratch using "Mom's" recipe.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 -8
Author Johan Johansen


Aromatic vegetables

  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper lef whole
  • 1 green bell pepper medium dice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

Spice blend

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Homemade Chili Powder

  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried Ancho chili
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Other ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons Ghost Chili/Mango hot sauce or similar fruit-driven hot sauce
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes about 800 grams total
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 500 grams chili beans


Making fire-roasted red bell pepper:

  1. Turn your oven to broil and leave to get smoking hot.
  2. Poke red pepper a few times with a sharp knife, then pop in oven directly under broiler.
  3. Leave pepper to broil, turning every now and then till thoroughly browned all over.
  4. Remove pepper from oven and immediately stash in a disposable food-grade plastic bag and tie shut.
  5. Leave pepper to steam for about 10-20 minutes (or until cool enough to handle).
  6. Using a sharp knife, remove the core and seeds from the pepper, then carefully scrape off the blackened skin.
  7. Cut pepper into a medium dice, reserve any accumulated juices if you can.

Fry vegetables

  1. Put a large Dutch oven or other pot over medium heat and add a generous splash of oil.
  2. Add garlic, onion, celery and peppers (green and red), fry for about five minutes till fragrant and softened.
  3. Add hot sauce along with any accumulated roasting juices from the red pepper and cook for about five minutes, giving the sauce a bit of time to mellow out and cook down.
  4. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and set aside for a few minutes.

Brown turkey

  1. Turn heat to medium high, add another splash of oil followed by the ground turkey.
  2. Fry turkey for a good five minutes until browned.
  3. Mix all dried spices (including the homemade or store-bought chili powder).
  4. Throw your spice mix in with the turkey and continue to fry for another few minutes until everything (your house included) smells awesome.

Everybody in the pool

  1. Throw aromatic vegetables back into the pot along with the bay leaf, liquid smoke, chicken stock, tomatoes and beans (liquid and all).
  2. Let everything come to a boil, then back heat down to medium and cook for about 30 minutes stirring every now and then.
  3. Finish cooking when everything has reduced a bit and has thickened nicely. It will be done after 30 minutes, but you can keep cooking it down for a thicker, more flavorful chili. The choice is yours. It’s pretty damn hard to overcook ground meat.

Recipe Notes

This recipe was slightly adapted from an original recipe courtesy of Laura Mosso with further improvements by Mark Mosso. It is reprinted and modified with permission.