Spicy Turkey and Chickpea Chili

You might have heard me talk about the stray cats that have taken refuge in my neighborhood once of twice before. I don’t think I ever fully explained the situation, though. There are at least twelve feral cats that wander around from porch to porch in my neighborhood. They’ve all been spayed, and the whole neighborhood has, at one time or another, fed them or given them water. I, being the bleeding heart that I am, gave them all names, bought them cat beds for when it gets cold outside, and feed them every day. Some come and go, but there are three that have really made our front door their home – Sergeant Pepper (the father of the bunch), Mittens (who is probably thankful that he got one of the normal names), and Tobias (who turned out to be a girl… oops.) Sometimes Lord Grantham and Mr. Binx show up for dinner, but the three amigos are around all the time and have gotten more used to me than any stray cat really should. Not to mention, they are the fattest alley cats you’ll come across.

Now, keep in mind, I’m telling you this story knowing all too well that I am pretty much already a cat lady. And realizing that now you know it too. At age twenty-two, these cats have flocked to me like I have the word “spinster” tattooed on my forehead. Animals are very perceptive… They can sense these sorts of things… Anyway, the other night when I was taking my dog on a walk, Sergeant Pepper, Mittens, and Tobias decided to come with us. It was one of the cutest things I have ever seen. My dog Lila and the three cats were practically playing follow the leader. So that’s a fun little picture to think about while you’re enjoying this Spicy Turkey and Chickpea Chili. There is no arguing that chili weather is here. The world is experiencing snow and sleet like nobody’s business and a warm pot of chili waiting on the stove when you come in from the cold is one of the simplest pleasures in life. This recipe is one that you will be making for years to come. This turkey chili gets its heat from poblano peppers, chipotle chiles, and lots of spices like chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. I add chickpeas because I am really bad at being a southerner.

Spiced dark meat turkey chili with fresh chickpeas and poblano chiles

Prep time
10 mins

Cook time
35 mins

Total time
45 mins

Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 poblano chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ pounds ground dark meat turkey
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed


1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, poblano chiles, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add the turkey and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, breaking up the meat with the back of a spoon, until cooked through. Add the flour and stir to combine. Add the tomato paste, chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, oregano, cinnamon, and cloves, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and chickpeas and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens.

2. Ladle the chili into bowls and serve.

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