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Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

In Beans, Carrot, Celery, Chili, Cilantro, Garlic, Kale, Kidney Beans, Lime, Main Course, Onion, Recipe, Soup & Stew, Turkey
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Chili top shot- Blog 729
A few weeks back I cooked a dish very similar to this for a Cooking Matters class I was teaching in Charlestown.  The theme for the week was how to incorporate more vegetables in our cooking, and it was a recipe I hadn't yet taught to a class and so was excited to try it.  My friend, and class coordinator extraordinaire, Michelle brought along a sweet potato which wasn't called for, but really added to the dish....it was awesome, and all of our students raved about it.

I knew right then that I'd need to make a similar dish at home, dressing it up a bit, but staying true to the tenets of what we teach each week.  Namely, cooking with whole foods in a low-fat, low-sodium, low-budget manner, to make delicious food with ingredients that are easily accessible to our students.

So, while I did tweak the recipe we teach, you won't find any fennel pollen, truffle oil, or foie gras added here....sorry.  What you will find though, is a tasty meal, loaded with nutritious ingredients, that is packed with flavor (but not too spicy), will be loved by all, and will freeze brilliantly should you have any left-overs.  

Chili side shot- Blog 732
When we made this in class, we also added about a 1/2 cup of bulgur wheat to the chili shortly before it finished cooking.  It was a great way to use up the remnants of a bag that Michelle didn't want to lug back to the office, and also provided a nice nutritional boost to the chili.  Bulgur, which is basically just parboiled, cracked wheat is high in fiber, iron and B vitamins.  It added nicely to the texture of the chili but went unnoticed by all of the students, a sneaky chef addition if I ever saw one.

Cheers - Steve


Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

by: Steve Dunn (inspired by a Cooking Matters recipe)

(Print Friendly Version)



  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 large, red onion, peeled and cut into fine dice
  • 1 large sweet potato, washed and cut into medium dice (keep the peel on, its good for you)
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into medium dice
  • 2 stalk of celery sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups water or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 15 ounce cans of kidney or black beans (I used one of each), drained and rinsed
  • 2 28 ounce cans of no salt-added diced tomatoes (San Marzanos preferred)
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed, dried, stripped from the central rib and cut into ribbons
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Lime wedges, jalapeƱo slices, sour cream and fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)


  1. Place a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat and pour in a fine slick of olive oil.  When the oil is hot, brown the turkey meat, working in batches until it is nicely caramelized.  Remove the meat from the pot and place in a bowl.  Add the onions, carrots and sweet potato to the pan until the veggies have started to soften, and the onion is golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the garlic, celery and red pepper and cook another 4-5 minutes.  Add the chili powder, cumin, tomato paste, and a couple generous pinches of salt, stir to incorporate.
  2. Add the beans, tomatoes, browned turkey (and its juices), and water (or stock) to the pot and bring it to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium-low and cook gently for about 15 minutes.  Add the sliced kale and cook another 10 minutes or so, or until the carrots and sweet potato are cooked to your liking.
  3. Check for seasoning, adding more chili powder and salt as needed.
  4. Serve straight-up or with the garnishes mentioned above.

 Serves 10-12



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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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