When Turkey and White Bean Chili Is Just the Thing

You may not want to think about cooking for a while, but if you make this chili and freeze part of it, you’ll have banked at least one night off. Comes in handy over the holidays. Also the perfect thing just when you can’t eat one more sweet potato casserole, slab of stuffing, or stick of butter. This chili cuts right through. It’s a releif. What’s more, if you have a tellie in the kitchen, you can make it while watching Homeland and not miss one bit. Saul, Carrie, and the CIA need your full attention to catch those terrorists; this chili can take care of itself. (As it is low-fat and high-protein, it takes care of you, too.)

Turkey and White Bean Chili
Chef Stephanie Valentine's superb Turkey and White Bean Chili

Chicken may of course be substituted for turkey, ditto the stock. If you grew up going to the Piggly Wiggly in Tarboro and are somewhat mystified by tomatillos and anaheims, take heart. You can read up on tomatillos and substitutes for tomatillos in buzzle.com (Possibilities are canned tomatillos, green tomatoes, and green peppers.) And here is a very handy guide to peppers via MissVickie.com. Now I would be remiss if I didn’t note the Piggly Wiggly in Tarboro has come a long way and probably sports a decent Hispanic section thanks to the town’s evolving demographic. When capitalism meets cuisine, it’s a beautiful thing.

The recipe, in all its mgnificence, comes from Rancho La Zaca Chef Stephanie Valentine, in all her magnificence.

Turkey and White Bean Chili
  1. 1 pound tomatillos, husked and wash
  2. 1 pound anaheim chilies, washed
  3. Olive oil, about 1/3 cup
  4. 1 small onion, chopped
  5. 1 clove garlic, chopped
  6. 1 tablespoon combined chopped fresh oregano and thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon each dried
  7. 1 jalepeno, chopped (optional)
  8. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  9. 1 pound, or so, leftover turkey or chicken
  10. 4 cups cooked Cannelini beans, drained, (about 3 cans' worth)
  11. 1 quart turkey or chicken stock
  12. Salt and pepper
  1. Garnish with any, all, or none: chopped onion, cilantro, avocado, jalapeno, grated Jack cheese, tomatillo salsa, pico de gallo, chopped radishes, sour cream.
  2. Pre-heat broiler. Toss tomatillos and anaheims with a tiny bit of oil to coat, and roast under broiler or on a hot grill until the skin is blistered and black on the anaheims and tomatillos are a bit charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Put the tomatillos into a bowl and cool. Put the chilies into a paper bag and seal or into a bowl and cover. (This steams them so the skins slide right off.)
  3. Peel the anaheims and slice into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips.
  4. Place cooled tomatillos with a couple tablespoons of the chilies in a blender and blend. Set aside.
  5. Put 2 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic and herbs for about 5 minutes and add the jalepeno (if using) and chili powder. Stir in the turkey, cooked beans, tomatillos, chiles, and stock. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Frances Schultz https://www.francesschultz.com/
Garnish for Turkey and White Bean Chili
Garnish for Turkey and White Bean Chili
Anaheim chiles, via cookinglight.com
Anaheim chiles, photo via cookinglight.com
Tomatillo and chile blend
Tomatillo and chile blend
Turkey and chile mixture, pot-ready
Turkey and chile mixture, pot-ready
White beans
Believe it or not, these are white beans. Stephanie buys them dried and soaks them and all that. I, you may be shocked to know, use canned. Either Cannellini or the smaller White Northern beans would work fine. And don't forget they're a good source of protein and fiber.
Rancho La Zaca Chef Stephanie Valentine
Madame Chef Stephanie Valentine in action. She is a goddess.



  1. The chili looks and sounds like real stick to the ribs winter eating-but to prepare while watching Homeland-impossible for me. Although I’m pretty good at multitasking, I’m on the edge of my chair throughout that show.

  2. Great photo of Stepahnie- she is completely in her element here! My favorite was the meal served for the wedding rehersal for W & B- the entire collection of mexican pottery came out for that feast!

  3. Served up some navy bean soup with smoked turkey just last night. Your tomatillos and chiles sound much more exotic…great way to recycle!

  4. Perfect – I’ve got turkey, cooked white beans and most of the other ingredients. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  5. Frances, I really appreciate this recipe of Stephanie’s. I love turkey but am so ready to head south of Plymouth by the time “the” day is over. Tomatillos are one of my favorites, and actually quite comfy (and EEEasy) in most climates…caution however, as they define “indeterminate” and are likely to pop their heads (and little bright greem pods) out the following spring in the middle of your peonies or zinnias! xo Pete

  6. Made this last night with New Mexico roasted green chile from the freezer and canned tomatillo sauce since the local grocery had no fresh. Served with a dollop of lite sour cream on top and we were happy campers! Delicious and soothing and the perfect way to use up the last of that 20 pound bird. Thanks for the recipe — it’s a keeper.

    1. Sounds great, Linda! Also inspires us not to have to interpret recipes so strictly – sometimes they can merely be guides for your own imagination – and what’s in the pantry or freezer! Thanks so much for writing. 🙂

  7. Made last night with canned tomatillos and fresh anaheims. It was great but very spicey! I may forget jalapenos next time. I guess I’m a wimp.(-: I also felt very chef savvy as I peeled my peppers. Thanks again.

  8. Made a double batch and froze it individual portions for trip to Mammoth Mountain. Great switch from regular “red” chili”! Goes great with a margarita! Thanks!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *