Autumn Turkey Chili Recipe For Cool Nights

Before too many leaves have changed color, there are only two things in this world that I trust to mark the beginning of fall in Virginia: the appearance of Halloween decor in the aisles of just about every drug store, and my mom’s chili. As the stores fill up with fake spider webs and plastic gore mid-August, I know the season has officially changed when I smell onions, garlic, and turkey cooking in the kitchen.

My family has been using this recipe for years and while it’s always a treat to enjoy a fresh batch when I’m home from school, this chili tastes just as good if kept frozen and thawed a few days later.

Perfect for dinner parties or dinner for one, this chili is the best way to celebrate fall—any time of the year.




2 lbs ground turkey

1 large onion, chopped

1 T chopped garlic

1 container sliced mushrooms

2 large cans kidney beans, drained

2 12-oz cans V-8 juice

1 large can (28 oz) whole or chopped tomatoes

1 or 2 cans chicken broth

6-8 T chili powder

3 bay leaves

1 t sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Tabasco sauce to taste

Chopped jalapenos (optional)


Prep time: ~45 minutes

(For best results, cook with Halloween placemats and a bottle of champagne at hand.)



Finely chop onion and garlic and place in large frying pan (or go ahead and put them in the large pot!).



Let onions and garlic cook for just a couple of minutes before adding the turkey to brown in the onion and garlic juices.

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Stir turkey, onions, and garlic and add mushrooms while turkey is cooking.



Once turkey has browned, pour the contents of the frying pan (if using one) into a large pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to mix ingredients. 





Bring pot to a boil then simmer for an hour. Taste and correct the ingredients as needed.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream accompanied by Fritos or tortilla chips. Enjoy!


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