Leftover Turkey Chili

After enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving feast with your loved ones, you’re likely left with an abundance of turkey leftovers. If you’re looking for a creative, mouthwatering way to repurpose those leftovers, look no further than this easy Leftover Turkey Chili recipe.

It’s the perfect dish to keep the holiday spirit alive while also providing a comforting, satisfying meal that will undoubtedly impress your taste buds.

This Leftover Turkey Chili recipe is not only simple to follow, but it also allows you to transform your Thanksgiving leftovers into a whole new meal that your family and friends will savor. With a confident, knowledgeable, and clear approach, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to create this crowd-pleasing dish.

So, let’s breathe new life into your holiday leftovers with this scrumptious Leftover Turkey Chili recipe. This delightful, soul-warming meal will surely become a favorite in your home, making the most of every morsel from your Thanksgiving turkey.

Ingredients and Substitutions

When making this Leftover Turkey Chili recipe, the key ingredients you will need include leftover turkey, beans, tomatoes, and various spices. Here is a detailed list of ingredients, as well as possible substitutions you can consider when making this dish.

Main Ingredients:

  1. Leftover Turkey: 2 cups of shredded or chopped turkey
  2. Beans: 1 can of black beans, 1 can of kidney beans, and 1 can of pinto beans
  3. Tomatoes: 1 can of fire-roasted tomatoes and 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  4. Veggies: 1 large onion, 1 green bell pepper, and 1 jalapeno pepper
  5. Chicken Broth or Turkey Stock: 2 cups
  6. Beer (optional): 1 cup

Spices and Seasonings:

  1. Chili Powder: 2 tablespoons
  2. Ground Cumin: 1 teaspoon
  3. Oregano: 1 teaspoon
  4. Cayenne Pepper: 1/4 teaspoon
  5. Kosher Salt: 1 teaspoon
  6. Ground Black Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
  7. Garlic: 3 cloves, minced

Toppings (optional):

  1. Shredded Cheddar: 1 cup
  2. Diced Avocado: 1 large avocado
  3. Chopped Green Onions: 1/4 cup
  4. Chopped Cilantro: 1/4 cup

In case you need to make substitutions or would like to personalize the recipe, here are some recommendations:

  • Turkey: If you do not have leftover turkey, you can use cooked and shredded chicken instead.
  • Beans: You can swap in any of your preferred beans, such as dark red kidney beans or white beans.
  • Tomatoes: Freshly diced tomatoes can be substituted for canned tomatoes. You can also use tomato paste in place of crushed tomatoes.
  • Veggies: Consider adding more vegetables like corn, red bell pepper, or red onion. If you prefer a milder chili, deseed the jalapeno pepper before adding it to the dish.
  • Spices: Adjust the spices to suit your taste buds. Add more chili powder or cayenne pepper if you prefer a spicier chili.
  • Chicken Broth: Use turkey stock or vegetable stock as alternatives.
  • Beer: Omit the beer or replace it with additional chicken broth or stock if desired.
  • Toppings: Customize toppings to match your preferences. Rice, sour cream or crumbled tortilla chips can also be added.

Cooking Instructions

To prepare a delicious Leftover Turkey Chili, follow these simple and clear cooking instructions.

  1. Gather your ingredients: have your leftover turkey ready, along with toppings such as green onions, cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, and accompaniments like cornbread, tortilla chips, or rice.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil and sauté diced onions, garlic, and green bell peppers for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
  3. Stir in your favorite chili spices (such as chili powder, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes), then add the chopped leftover turkey and cook for another 5 minutes, or until heated through.
  4. Pour in diced tomatoes (fresh or canned), a can of drained and rinsed beans (your choice of kidney, pinto, or black beans), and a few cups of chicken or turkey broth. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes to meld the flavors. Adjust the consistency by adding more broth, if needed.
  5. If you prefer to use a slow cooker, follow steps 1-3 and then transfer the cooked ingredients to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  6. Taste the Leftover Turkey Chili and adjust the seasonings if necessary. If it is too spicy, you can add a bit of sugar to balance the flavors. For more heat, add additional chili powder or red pepper flakes.
  7. Serve your chili hot, ladled over rice or scooped into bowls. Offer the chili toppings and sides separately, allowing your guests to customize their meal. A simple green salad can be served on the side to round out the meal.

Remember that this chili can also be cooled and frozen for a later date, making meal prep easy and convenient. Enjoy your delicious and comforting Leftover Turkey Chili with your favorite toppings and accompaniments.

Storing and Reheating

Storing your leftover turkey chili is simple and ensures you can enjoy it for days after your Thanksgiving feast. To maintain its freshness, follow these steps:

  1. Allow the chili to cool to room temperature.
  2. Transfer the chili to an air-tight container or resealable plastic bags.
  3. Place the container in the refrigerator.

Your leftover turkey chili can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. If you have more chili than you can eat within that time, consider freezing it.

Freezing turkey chili can extend its shelf life to about three months. To freeze:

  • Use either an air-tight container or a resealable plastic freezer bag.
  • Label the container or bag with the date and contents.
  • Make sure to leave some room for the chili to expand as it freezes.

When you’re ready to enjoy your leftover turkey chili recipe again, simply take the container out of the freezer and follow these reheating steps:

StepInstruction
1Thaw the chili overnight in the refrigerator
2Pour chili into a saucepan or microwave-safe dish
3Reheat over medium-low heat on the stove or microwave until heated through

Remember to stir occasionally on the stovetop and check the chili to ensure even heating. If you’re in a hurry, you can also use the defrost setting on your microwave to thaw your chili before reheating.

This process works well not only for leftover turkey chili but also for meals with shredded chicken or other protein. By properly storing and reheating your leftover meals, you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dishes throughout the holiday season.

Nutritional Profile

This Leftover Turkey Chili recipe is not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients that your body needs. Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown of the dish.

For a single serving of Leftover Turkey Chili, you can expect approximately 250 calories. Out of these calories, 40% come from protein, totaling about 25 grams. Protein is vital for repairing and building tissues in your body.

The total fat in the dish is about 8 grams, with only 2 grams of saturated fat. Keep in mind that the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to 5-6% of total daily calories.

This recipe is relatively low in cholesterol, with around 40 mg per serving. Moreover, it contains approximately 670 mg of sodium, which is around 28% of the recommended daily value, making it fairly suitable for those who are conscious about their sodium intake.

A single serving of this chili provides 8 grams of dietary fiber, which can help improve digestion and maintain a healthy weight. The recipe also offers a moderate level of total carbohydrate intake, with 20 grams of carbs, including 3 grams of sugars.

As for the vitamins and minerals, this dish is a good source of Vitamin A, providing around 40% of the daily value. It also contains 25% of your daily need for Vitamin C, essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.

On the mineral front, this chili gives you 12% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and 20% of the needed potassium. Calcium is crucial for bone health, while potassium helps with fluid balance and proper muscle function.

When garnishing your chili with shredded cheese, be mindful of the additional calories, fat, and sodium it may add. To keep the dish as healthy as possible, consider using a reduced-fat and lower-sodium cheese option.

So, next time you have some leftover turkey, remember that this Leftover Turkey Chili recipe offers a balanced option that offers a variety of essential nutrients in every serving. Enjoy your meal and feel good knowing that you’re fueling your body with a nutritious and flavorful dish!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some key ingredients in white turkey chili?

White turkey chili typically includes ingredients like cooked turkey, white beans, onion, garlic, green chilies, and a variety of spices such as cumin, oregano, and chili powder. To create a creamier texture, you may add sour cream or cream cheese, making it richer and more flavorful.

How can I create a smoked turkey chili flavor?

To achieve a smoky flavor in your turkey chili, you can incorporate smoked paprika and chipotle chili powder into the recipe. Additionally, you may also use liquid smoke for an even more intense smoky flavor. Be sure to add these ingredients sparingly and adjust to your taste preference.

What makes green chili unique for a leftover turkey recipe?

Green chili is distinctive because of its main ingredient, the green chili pepper. These peppers are not only spicy but also provide a bright and tangy flavor. Combining green chilies with leftover turkey creates a delicious and unique dish that stands out from other turkey chili recipes.

What are some creative ways to use cooked turkey breast?

Aside from making turkey chili, there are plenty other ways to utilize leftover turkey breast. Some ideas are:

  • Turkey pot pie
  • Turkey and vegetable stir-fry
  • Turkey and cranberry sandwiches
  • Turkey tetrazzini
  • Turkey salad

Mix and match with various vegetables, sauces, and seasonings to create diverse and delicious dishes using cooked turkey breast.

How can I adapt a slow cooker white chili recipe for leftover turkey?

To adapt a slow cooker white chili recipe for leftover turkey, simply replace the original protein (such as chicken) with the cooked turkey. Since the turkey is already cooked, you can add it in the last hour of cooking, allowing it to heat through and absorb the flavors without overcooking. Be sure to adjust the cook time accordingly, as using cooked turkey may require less time compared to uncooked protein.

What types of dishes can be made with frozen leftover turkey?

Frozen leftover turkey is incredibly versatile, allowing for various dishes to be made. Here are a few ideas:

  • Turkey and vegetable soup
  • Turkey and rice casserole
  • Turkey shepherd’s pie
  • Turkey fajitas
  • Turkey enchiladas

Remember to follow proper thawing procedures before incorporating the turkey into your dish, ensuring it is heated thoroughly and reaches the proper temperature for consumption.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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