Devilish Turkey Vegetable Chili


Oh, this Thanksgiving is one that I will be giving thanks for all year! Our holiday included friends, family – and amazing food. We had all of the traditional foods for Hanukkah, such as latkes, a couple of artisan cheese plates (hey, it’s traditional to my Hanukkah, at least!) – and poppy-seed challah. The kids played spin the dreidel, some other games – and made fun Hanukkah art projects!

DSC_2002Later in the day, the “Thanksgiving” meal (yes, we are still hungry – we are a family of professional eaters) was enjoyed. This was my first time to host an authentic, full-spread, 20-pound turkey Thanksgiving meal! Truthfully, I am quite amazed and proud of myself. Two days of cooking yielded something magical: a real, extraordinary holiday meal in our home. Myriad sauces and sides (more than ten) ranged from fennel-apple stuffing, turkey bacon bourbon Brussels sprouts, to sweet potatoes Anna – and more! Essential holiday desserts were plentiful, too, of course. Apple cake and a chocolate bourbon pecan pumpkin pie were delectable.


The lingering question after the feast is what to do with all of the leftover turkey? Of course, a hot panino with turkey, leftover cranberry chutney and your favorite ooey-gooey cheese make a fabulous lunch. Still, more turkey will remain. I don’t want to just consume my poultry – I want to delight in it. Krystina from Kouzounas Kitchen inspired me to create a healthful chili dish. Chili is also Abba’s favorite food (next to chips and salsa), so this meal will be crowd-pleaser!

DSC_1994A simple and scrumptious turkey chili, packed with nutritious vegetables, will make a lovely supper for you and your family. Sprinkle your steaming bowls with crisp, sliced green onions; a fantastic mature, hard cheese – and add a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt to the top. We have quite a few imported, amazing cheeses in our cheese drawer at the moment (some people have a drawer for vegetables; I have drawers for my “cheese collection!”). This chili pairs splendidly with sharp, pungent – oh, so decadent – Portuguese Mendevil cured in paprika and olive oil.

DSC_2003Oh, Gosh… All this talking about food makes me hungry. Let the cooking commence!

DSC_1987First, sauté the vegetables.

DSC_1988Next, add the lemon zest, lemon juice…

DSC_1990… and red and green chiles.

DSC_1991Then, incorporate the spices and the turkey.

DSC_1992Now, stir in the turkey/chicken stock, beans and tomatoes. Simmer for a while.

DSC_1995Then, allow the chili to delicately bubble, uncovered, until rich, thick – and tastes amazing. Remember to season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

I am elated that you stopped by to visit Casa Curls and Carrots to visit our family (and smell the sensational, aromatic turkey chili)! Ima, Snu Magoo, Littlest Guy, Abba (and our visiting family member, Dod Patrick!) send their love and warmest wishes for a safe, savory and sweet holiday season.

Best wishes,




Devilish Turkey Vegetable Chili

Top your chili with with Portuguese Mendevil to add pizzaz and elevate the simple fare.

Feel free to substitute any of your favorite vegetables in your crisper this versatile recipe. 


1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large green zucchini, sliced

1 large yellow zucchini, sliced

4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins, about 4 cups

1 each: red and green chile, seeded and membrane removed, chopped

 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced

 the zest and juice of one lemon

6 cups dark and white meat turkey, chopped

2 tsp. each: dried Mexican oregano, cumin, coriander, garlic

2 tsp. smoked paprika

 1, 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes

2 cans unsalted black beans, including the juice

2 cups low-sodium free-range chicken stock or turkey stock

 salt and pepper, for seasoning

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Optional toppings:

Spring onions, sliced

Greek yogurt

Mature, hard cheese, grated (such as Portuguese Mendevil cured with olive oil and paprika)


  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large stockpot.
  • Sauté the onion, green and yellow zucchini, carrots and chiles until onion is translucent and the vegetables have a slight gold color, about ten minutes.
  • Season the mixture well with salt and pepper.
  • Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute.
  • Add the zest and juice of the lemon, the turkey and all of the spices. Stir well.
  • Season the mixture well with salt and pepper.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans (including juice) and chicken or turkey stock. Stir well.
  • Reduce the heat to low or medium-low. Cover and simmer for one to two hours to marry flavors. Stir occasionally.*
  • Remove the lid and allow to simmer until the chili is thick and reduced to your desired consistency, about fifteen minutes.
  • Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. 
  • Stir in the fresh parsley.
  • Serve with your toppings of choice. Enjoy!

*The chili can be simmered, covered, for several hours in this stage, if time permits.


©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.



64 thoughts on “Devilish Turkey Vegetable Chili

  1. That looks crazy yum! Full of veggies as well!! I thought it would be full of butter or something from the crazy luxurious and creamy look of the dish! I’m glad it only contains the stock. I just recently made cod fish head soup and I’m sure the stock would work in this recipe right? 🙂

    1. Hi, Izzy,
      Thank you so much for your warm comments! I so appreciate them! Yes, only stock in this recipe. Any stock would work well. And, feel free to substitute different vegetables and use any cooked poultry that is available to you in New Zealand. The key to making the recipe taste great without too many unhealthful additions is to simmer it a long time, covered, to make the meat very tender and marry the flavors. Then, the short simmer uncovered thickens the sauce and makes it almost velvety. It all sort of “becomes” one by the end of the process. I suppose someone could add some butter at this point to enhance the sauce’s texture, but I prefer to simply add Greek yogurt and a great, mature sheep’s cheese. I do hope that you try this turkey chili soon for you and your mom! Have a fabulous Sunday.

      1. I’d probably choose the option of organic chicken.. However, after going vegan (although I had to come back to eating meat) I became really ‘meh’ about the taste and texture of meat; preferring dahl (lentils dish; soooo good!) and chickpeas. Weird right?? How long did you simmer it for though? Sheep cheese haha! (It sounds so funny). Why do you reckon we don’t eat much mutton/sheep, but mostly baby lambs? 😦 I’ve tried goat and the meat isn’t bad at all (similar to lamb but not as smelly) so why not sheep?
        P.S. My mum’s a vegetarian!

      2. Hi, Izzy,
        So, I ended up simmering it on a very low heat, covered, a good part of the day. I was home and knew it would enhance the flavor and texture. You could add some beans towards the end of the cooking instead of the turkey – this way they don’t become mushy. I only eat sheep and goat cheeses most of the time – they are healthy, full of flavor and more agreeable to my digestion. I am glad to hear that you and your mum are so salubrious in your choices. Take good care! Warmly, Shanna

      3. Hi shanna,
        So sorry for the late reply! I have been crazy studying for exams, actually the ACTs because I am applying to colleges in the US! Whereabouts in the US do you live in again? I am hoping to get into some unis in Massachusetts or New York. I USD to drink goat’s milk instead of cows milk when I was a kid, which was pretty interesting…will you tell me about how they’re healthy? 🙂

      4. Hi, Izzy,
        Good luck in your application! My husband actually went to undergrad back East – Princeton, it is a small school in New Jersey. Not far from New York City. Good luck to you – HOW EXCITING! Yay! You could be USA bound.
        So, many folks are intolerant of the protein in cow’s milk (like me), which is why I buy sheep and goat’s cheeses and yogurt. Honestly, they have an amazing flavor and are lower in cholesterol and fat. Harder to find in the USA than in your country, that is for SURE. Have a nice night.
        Warm regards,

      5. Hi Shanna,
        So sorry for the late reply, I have been incredibly busy! Princeton University is not a very small school though, I’d say!
        Where abouts in the US do you reside in now?
        Actually, ironically, I’d obtained the goat’s milk during my childhood when I was living in Thailand! Haha. I think it had been exported too.. Not quite sure. But it tasted delicious!

      6. Hi, Izzy,
        We live in New Mexico, but will be moving at the end of the following year for my husband’s surgical fellowship training.
        Goat’s milk in Thailand… how exotic, exciting and delicious. I made a vegetarian lasagna last night with goat and sheep cheeses. Instead of ricotta, I strained a local goat milk yogurt to the consistency. It was delicious.
        Have a great weekend! Best wishes, Shanna
        PS Good luck on your applications.

      7. Hi Shanna,
        Sorry for such late reply, and have a happy new year! I guess you won’t be doing some extreme partying seeing you have small children (right?). New Mexico, on the other hand, sounds exotic to me. I’ve always wondered if it is basically like Mexico but in the States.
        You know how you guys have Chinatown in the States, it is the same in Thailand, but a ‘European’ area, where there are quite a lot of foreigners, and obviously European/Western foods.
        And how exciting! You finally made your own cheese! It’s not that much effort, and definitely more delicious than store-bought soft cheeses which has a lot of fat taken off, and therefore pretty tasteless.
        P.S. I have submitted my applications, and where are you moving off to??

      8. Hi, Izzy,
        Keep me posted on your college applications. Good luck. How exciting! My husband is applying to thirteen different programs and two more that are outside of the fellowship match. So we shall see. Take good care! Happy New Year!

      9. Hi Shanna,
        What is a fellowship match anyway? I would probably here from the colleges around May. However, I know that I have the choice of living in New York, Massachusetts or Connecticut 🙂
        Have a nice relaxing holiday!

      10. Izzy,
        In the US, after a doctor obtains his MD, he or she goes through years and years and years of specialization. My hubby is now sub-sub specializing in head and neck reconstruction…. and he is nearing 40. 🙂 Fellowship is the end of the training road, I suppose, though one always learns and trains. I am quite excited for your to end up at a great college. Please do stay in touch with our family if you come to the US. My email is shannaDOTwardATalumniDOTutexasDOTnet
        Happy New Year, Amiga!

      11. Yeah, I’ve heard of doctors graduating from college at 30 plus years. My brother is considering pre-med at Yale, but he’s still a freshman. That is very interesting! Head and neck reconstruction! For patients who have undergone serious accidents?? I will definitely have to visit you in the US. I will probably be going “college shopping” i.e. choosing where I want to go, in April. So hopefully will see you then! I’ve never heard anyone say “Amiga” before, and I’ve just been using “Amigo” for all genders! P.S. I am liking the “DOT” you are using instead of the actual punctuation symbol haha.
        Have a great holiday! How long do you guys have a break for in the US(generally)?

      12. My husband went to medical school at 29… he worked in public health before at the CDC as a nutritionist and physiologist. I hope your brother pursues medicine; it is a very fulfilling field. You really help others!
        The reason for the DOT and AT is for my own protection… it helps avoid spamming. I don’t give out this email to companies, just friends.
        Amiga is a very common term here… casual and of endearment… especially in New Mexico and Texas, where many of us also speak some Spanish.
        Head and Neck does deal with some accidents. Most often, they resect massive, huge facial cancers and remove most of someone’s face. Then they build it back using tissue from all over the body. Like building a nose out of a flap of skin from the back, etc. The surgeries are very long in duration.
        As for breaks, my daughter is on break from preschool for two weeks! It is too much for me! hehe. Doctors, of course, don’t get very long breaks. 😉 Moms, obviously, NEVER get breaks, especially with my one-year-old.
        Happy New Year’s to you and yours, Izzy!
        Best, Shanna

    1. Hi, Cris,
      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read all about turkey! 😉 I hope that you are having a lovely weekend! Do you have any holidays widely celebrated now in Italy (like Advent)? Take good care.

      1. Hi dear, i’m at work, clear! We celebrate the 8th December, which is Immaculate Conception .. and then finally Christmas Eve, Christmas, the 26th, Saint Stephan. In January we celebrate the 1st of the Year, and the 6th, we call it Epifania, it’s the feast of the adoration of the Magi, who brought gift for Jesus Birth. Im’ entering Christmas mood 🙂

    1. Hi, Fae! I am so glad you are here, and thank you for your kind comments. 🙂 I hope that you are enjoying your weekend – and cooking up some delicious food in your kitchen (I have no doubt, of course). Take good care. Warmly, Shanna

  2. Happy Hanukkah and many blessings to you and your family! I always include as many religious holidays in my December calendar, it was posted in the end of November. Hanukkah was included. My cousin lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with her Jewish husband and we exchange both types of cards over the holidays!

    1. Hello! Thank you for your lovely message. I think it is so great that you immerse yourself in the many different holidays celebrated. That is lovely – and just plain fun to do. I am sure that your cousin loves receiving your cards! Holiday cards are just the best. Take good care. Warmly- Shanna

    1. Hi Kang Ju-won,

      Thank you for your warm and kind words! I am so elated that you stopped by. 🙂 It is devilish for two reasons: First, it is gone in a second. Second, the Portuguese cheese that I found to pair with the chili is called devil.. oh, gosh, I do adore a fine fromage!

      Have a wonderful day – It’s Monday in Korea!!! Oh, and I thought your food photos today were pretty neat.


      P.S. My little brother, who lives with our family, was stationed in S. Korea for a couple of years.

  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday Shanna! I thought of you when Hanukkah began. My youngest daughter had her friend over for a sleepover on the second night and she brought along her minora to light up. So sweet! That chill looks oh, so yum!

    1. Oh, Lidia,
      I do adore how blogging has connected amazing, wonderful people like you! I am sure little “Snu Magoo” would have loved to jump into the festivities and sleepover. Thank you for sharing this warm, lovely story – you are a great mom to host a sleepover! 😉 And light a menorah that. You know, I have a lot, a lot, a lot of distance cousins, aunts and uncles over in Canada. It seems that many of my family stopped there first long ago – and just stayed. I can see why. I told “Abba” that I feel so connected to the Canadian bloggers – wonderful recipes, stories and fantastic personhoods. Thank you for your warm wishes. Best – Shanna

    1. Hi, Krystina,
      Unfortunately, I didn’t try the recipe… I just saw that someone made chili out of turkey and felt inspired to do the same. 🙂 So, the recipe is nothing like the original… but what matters is that I never would have made a turkey chili if you had not given me the idea. THANK YOU! 🙂

  4. THAT is what I am going to do with my leftover turkey!!! What amazing colors 🙂 And it looks so tasty.

    Love that you’re a family of “professional eaters.” Awesome. I wanted to keep eating, but had to stop when my stomach started feeling like it was going to pop. Any advice how to get around that hurdle? 😉

    1. Hi, Liz,
      Oh me, oh my – I have quite a few options for your leftover turkey. One includes pasta…. MMMM. 🙂 Thank you for visiting! You are so busy – and your kind words are invaluable.
      Professional eating: easy! A cocktail before dinner (I prefer a dry Manhattan!) and excellent wine throughout the cheese course and the meal… This whets the appetite. Of course, It never hurts to go for a long walk or run the morning of a lovely holiday festival dinner!
      Take good care – Hugs!

  5. Glad to hear that both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving went so well for you. It sounds like you and your family had a wonderful time. I love turkey sandwiches so much that I never have turkey for anything else. It’s either sandwiches or the freezer, and the frozen portions end up as sandwiches a couple of weeks later. I’m easy to please, Shanna. 🙂
    I’ve made turkey chili but yours sounds terrific. Adding roasted turkey must bring a ton of flavor to the pot. That picture of the serving in front of that beautiful menorah could not be more enticing.

    1. Hello, John,
      Well, thank you so much for taking time to read about the turkey chili and leave such a generous, uplifting note! 🙂 You are very kind, as always. You know, you are right – leftover turkey is so delicious served simply – on a salad or sandwich. However, we have family staying with us, so I decided to stretch the leftovers to make something hearty and nutritious to feed hungry folk. 🙂 Take good care! Best wishes, Shanna

  6. Dear Family of Professional Eaters (LOL)
    I can smell the sensational, aromatic turkey chilli, and i bet it tastes as good as it smells. I thought I made a humongous turkey but that 20 pound monster turkey you made beats them all. You are truly energetic-more than ten side dishes wow! And what if I sneak into that treasured cheese drawer? I love cheese too, but good cheeses cost a fortune…but are a great pleasure to eat. Thanks for sharing, I’m glad you had a great time eating all that food. Have a fabulous week! Liz

    1. Hi, Liz,
      Oh, my! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am elated that you stopped by to leave such kind words – and leave a little note. I am sure that your bird was also quite big! And you are welcome to raid my cheese drawer anytime. I try to buy very expensive cheeses when they are on sale to share with my friends and Abba. Of course, Snu Magoo has very expensive taste in cheese… I have created a monster. 🙂 Enjoy your week, Liz! Best wishes, Shanna

      1. Hi Shanna,
        Never start with the most expensive and top of the range ingredient. All the other look-a- likes will taste like nothing. And when it comes to cheese that is so very true. You’ve indeed created a monster, she will never eat anything that doesn’t taste like the real thing. I shall follow suite and buy the exclusive during sales. Thanks, gal, have a good day! Liz

      2. Oh, Dear Me! Liz, you are SO incredibly on point. You know, she is my first child, so she got only the best. The children that follow are not doted on as much as the first – there just isn’t enough time (or money!). I will have to wean her onto a affordable cheese… or else! 😉 Oh, and yes – you must shop the sales for the fancy cheese. It is the only way we get by. Be well – and have a great night. – Shanna

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