Tomatillo Turkey Chili

tomatillo turkey chiliThis Thanksgiving, don’t throw away those turkey leftovers!

Remember the meat from those turkey wings and drumsticks I used the other day to make gluten-free turkey gravy? All that meat didn’t go to waste – it was used to make a delicious, warming turkey chili!

I actually purchase a larger turkey than necessary for Thanksgiving each year. I love the leftovers. They make great filling for enchiladas, sandwiches, or even taste good eaten cold, straight from the fridge, late at night. Not that I would know or anything. But now, the leftovers star in a spicy, flavorful chili. Or you could add crushed tortilla chips and call it tortilla soup. Whatever you call it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you try it!

Of course, you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to make a chili like this. You can use any leftover chicken or turkey, or you can even purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and use it, if that’s your thing. It’ll all taste delicious in this soup. Heck, you could even go meatless, and use vegetable stock and add some cubed sweet potatoes or squash, and make a delicious vegetarian soup. It all sounds yummy to me.

If you can’t find tomatillos, you can substitute a 16-20 oz jar of bottled salsa verde/tomatillo salsa. Tomatillos are plentiful around here in Texas – but the cheapest ones are usually at the Latin groceries.

Tomatillo Turkey Chili, adapted from Simply Recipes

1 ½ lbs tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut in half

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped

5-6 c cooked turkey or chicken, shredded

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 c chicken broth

½ c gluten-free beer (such as Bard’s Tale) – optional, but it adds a wonderful flavor

2 c diced tomatoes or tomato puree

1 t ground cumin

1 t ground coriander

1 t dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c chopped cilantro

Place the tomatillos and jalapenos cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Scatter onions and garlic around tomatillos and jalapenos. Place under broiler for 5-7 minutes or until skins on tomatillos blacken. Remove, and when cool, pour tomatillos, jalapenos, onion and garlic, including any juices, into a food processor. Pulse until well blended.

Heat a large stockpot to medium heat and add tomatillo mixture and chipotle pepper. Stur around for a minute or two, and add turkey, beans, broth, beer, tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Immediately before serving, taste and adjust salt and pepper seasonings as necessary, and stir in most of the cilantro, reserving a bit to use as garnish.

Optional: Top with sour cream and cheese.

Serves 5-6.


  1. says

    Tasty looking chili. I like it. I’ve been craving tomatillos for a while. Sadly, no one in my farmer’s market has some. I’m hoping they’ll have some this weekend. *crossing fingers*

  2. says

    MMmm this soup looks so hearty and so healthy too! We love replacing beef with turkey when we make our chilis too, I will definitely be bookmarking this recipe. Thanks for sharing :)

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Christine – Tomatillos rock. They’re slightly sour, like a lime, with less “bite”.

      Krissy – You got to meet Elise? Cool! I love her blog. I used her recipe as a “guideline”, but if you look at it alongside mine, there are quite a few changes.

      Katrina – You mean, besides just drink it? Because I’m totally up for doing that too! (someone had to drink the rest of the bottle used for this recipe…guess who that was!)

      Jenn – I’ll cross my fingers for you too!

      Brie, Jessie, Linda, Danielle, April, Lauren, Simply Life, Angie, Joy and Iris – Thank you so much!

  3. says

    I love this recipe, I buy ground turkey all the time, could you use that in this recipe? Delicious! Didn’t know about gluten free beer, I am learning alot about gluten free from you. Great info

  4. says

    I love the tomatillos, chipotle pepper, and beer in here. Like you, I buy a large turkey just so we can have plenty of leftovers. We usually make a huge batch of turkey soup and freeze it, which is welcome on many cold winter nights.

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Angelia – you certainly could use ground turkey! I’d just recommend browning it first. I love these kind of recipes, though, because you can change up things as you see fit.

      Marillyn – Thanks so much for the award! I’m honored!

      Diana – What a great idea, to preserve the tomatillos. I am hoping to add them to my garden next year, then maybe I’ll have some in the freezer too!

      atxglutenfree, Winnie, Tasty Trix, Shelly, Chelsey, Stacy, Mathea, Cookin’ Canuck, Noelle, Reeni, Cheah, My Man’s Belly, and pegasuslegend – Thank you soo much!

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Liz – it was great to eat reheated the next day too!

      Elin, atxglutenfree, JL – Thank you!

      Chelsey – Ooooh! I’m so glad. Thank you for letting me know you made it – always makes me happy to hear someone liked the recipe once they tried it out.

  5. says

    Great idea and perfect timing. It’s good to be prepared for what to do with leftovers! Chili is such an ideal thing to incorporate odds and ends, as it’s as friendly to ingredients as it is comforting to our tummies.

  6. says

    I don’t like wasting too! You know, always thinking a way to use them. And duck bones, turkey bones and many others most suitable for making soup. And yours is such a great idea!

  7. says

    I hate wasting food so doing things with leftovers is something I always try to do but I’ve never roasted a turkey so I don’t think I’ve ever had that much leftover. I’ll definitely keep this in mind when I do roast one! :)

  8. says

    Alta, thanks for stopping by. The title of my post confused people. There is not a breakfast theme this week. I was just referring to the breakfast ideas I highlighted from last week! I like the ideas you left in the comment, though. Feel free to link up any recipe if you want.

    • tastyeatsathome says

      wasabi prime – Thank you, I love chili because it’s versatile and forgiving. And of course, yummy!

      lisaiscooking, Natasha, kristy, Lorraine, and Linda – Thank you!


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