James Beard’s Turkey Chili

  • Yield 8 to 10 servings

This savory turkey chili includes two surprise ingredients: almonds and peanuts.


5 to 6 pounds parts on the bone: breast halves, drumsticks, and thighs
1 yellow onion stuck with 2 or 3 whole cloves
2 celery stalks
2 sprigs fresh lat-leaf parsley
2 small dried hot chile peppers
Kosher salt
1 cup ground sliced natural almonds
1/2 cup ground peanuts
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup small pitted green olives
1/2 cup blanched almonds


  1. Cover the turkey with salted water in a deep pot, and add the onion, celery, parsley, and hot chilies. Bring to a boil over high heat and skim off any surface scum. Reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer until the turkey is tender but not falling off the bones, about 1 hour. Remove the turkey from the broth, and when it is cool enough to handle, strip the meat from the bones in good chunks. Discard the skin and bones.
  2. Strain the broth into a bowl and discard the vegetables. Degrease the broth and return it to the pot. Boil over high heat until you have 4 cups (this should take at least 15 minutes). Add the ground almonds, ground peanuts, green chilies, and chili powder. Simmer until nicely thickened. Meanwhile, sauté the onions, green peppers, and garlic in a large skillet with the olive oil until limp, about 5 minutes. Add to the sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add the turkey meat, and heat though. Finally add the olives and blanched almonds, and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Serve hot.

Reprinted with permission from The Essential James Beard Cookbook. St. Martin’s Press. Copyright © 2012 by James Beard Estate with Rick Rodgers.



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