Turkey chili topped with cheese and a piece of cornbread is the perfect meal on a cold winter's day.
Turkey chili topped with cheese and a piece of cornbread is the perfect meal on a cold winter’s day.

Beans don’t have a place in chili

Chili that isn’t, what is that? Every Texas knows that beans have no place in chili. Even Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang theory explains to Leonard’s annoying girlfriend that chili does not have beans. Once in college, a group of my guy friends and I entered a chili contest. Collectively we all threw our knowledge of chili making into the mix and came out with something I am sure did not reflect chili. One rule of the contest was NO Beans!. Sometimes you have to throw away the rule book, today I like to make flavorful chili that isn’t chili.

Chili growing up

Growing up my mom made chili on regular rotation in the winter always using Wick Fowler’s chili mix. If you have never experienced Wick Fowler chili, let me explain. You basically take a pound of ground meat and add all of the pre-measured packages of seasoning. You have the option of leaving out the hot pepper mix. That was chili to me growing up, we never used chili meat, as a result chunky chili is not for me. Wick Fowlers was flavorful, easy and simple without fresh ingredients.

Brown your ground meat throughout, drain and set aside.
Brown your ground meat throughout, drain and set aside.

My chili today

Today I still like ground meat but I use ground turkey instead. If the idea of using ground turkey sounds weird, which was the case for me until recently, feel free to use ground beef. No seasoning packets for this girl! I use seasonings and fresh ingredients including a lot of jalapenos and serranos. Now the ugly truth of my chili, I do add beans, blasphemy! I know, I know, I just explained real chili does not have beans. I asked for your forgiveness but promise you will fall in love with this flavorful chili that isn’t chili recipe.

Patience is the key to good chili

I recently watched a video, I think it was Bon Appetit, however what I do remember is that it was very important to cook or bake the lasagna sauce for three hours. The result of the long bake is creamy meat instead of what taste like ground meat. If it is good for lasagna I figured it would be good for chili. As a matter of fact the chili is smooth and flavorful, the seasoning all come together perfectly without that ground meat texture.

Shallots, or onions, garlic and jalapenos are the base of my chili.
Shallots, or onions, garlic and jalapenos are the base of my chili.

So let’s get started

Once the meat is browned it is time to get to the fun part of chili. Saute the pepper and shallots, you can substitute onions if you wish, in olive oil. Drain and rinse the beans, once the shallots are translucent, add the seasonings, beans and toss in a beer. Coors light is fan favorite around, however I am not picky. Feel free to swap water for the beer if you prefer. A can of beef broth will add a depth of flavor and also some sodium so there is no need to add more salt.

Saute your shallots or onions along with the jalapenos in a little olive oil.
Saute your shallots or onions along with the jalapenos in a little olive oil.

Stir and wait

You have everything in the pot, now stir and simmer. Simmer and stir, keep an eye out on your chili to make sure it doesn’t stick or begin to burn. Find your perfect simmer on your stove top, slightly bubbling but not boiling works if you keep an eye on it. Set a time if you are like me and can get caught up in something else. This is a serious commitment you are making. Add more liquid as you watch it cook to keep it from thickening up too much. Aim for at least three hours of simmering. You will not be sorry.

How tasty does this chili look?  Turkey chili is perfect for those can't get warm enough nights.
How tasty does this chili look? Turkey chili is perfect for those can’t get warm enough nights.

A few suggestions of what you can do while chili is cooking

While your chili cooks, how about a few suggestions of what you can do. A family favorite around here is jalapeno skillet corn bread. It is super to toss together while you are taking breaks stirring your chili. However if you are super industrious this is a good time to clean out a kitchen cabinet or two.

My husband loves to have his chili over tamales, which actually is a very good combination. As a result the chili acts as a chili carne sauce.

As a child my mom always served chili over white rice, I recently reintroduced this to my chili eating experience. My chili goes a little further and adds to the whole moment. Add corn bread on the side and you have the perfect way to beat a cold, wet night.

Turkey Chili

Spicy Turkey Chili with beans
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili, delicious, spicy
Servings: 4 people
Cost: $20


  • Dutch oven


  • 2 pounds ground turkey browned and drained
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped (can substitute 1 onion)
  • 3 1/2 jalapenos, chopped you can remove seeds, but what's the point
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 can ranch styled beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 can Rotel, original optional
  • 1/2 packet ranch dressing, dry mix
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2-3 12 oz. cans beer you can substitute water


Brown your meat

  • Brown the ground meat, I use turkey but you can substitute ground beef. Drain meat and set aside. You can brown meat in dutch oven, clean it and then saute next step or use a separate pot. Your choice.

Saute those shallots and jalapenos

  • Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into dutch oven, saute shallots (or onions) and jalapenos until shallots are translucent, add garlic and stir. Saute for no more than 30 seconds to a minute being careful to not let garlic burn.

Time for seasonings

  • Toss in chili powder, cumin and paprika. I prefer to mix the three spices before I put them into the pot. Pour in one beer, ranch beans, black beans and rotel. Stir everything, add back the ground meat. Add in the can of beef broth and 1/2 a packet of ranch dressing mix.

Simmer and stir

  • Bring everything to a simmer, add your second can of beer, you must stir it every 30 minutes for 3 hours. Be careful to not let the chili over simmer and begin to stick to the bottom of the pot. You will probably need to add a third can of beer before you are all done. If you prefer water over beer that is fine also, just substitute 1 1/2 cups of water for each beer.

Prepare yourself for delicious chili

  • Once you have simmered chili for 3 hours, it is ready. If you find the chili too thick just add enough water to thin it to your liking.


1 onion for the 2 shallots
1 1/2 cup water for each beer
Rotel, sometimes I leave out the rotel, but if you love yourself some tomatoes in your chili they will also had a little spice.