as i alluded to at the end of my last post, my slow cooker and i have a complicated relationship. you might have noticed that, to date, there are zero slow cooker recipes on this site. it’s not because i don’t like slow cooker recipes in theory. no, the issue is that in practice, i don’t like eating 99% of the slow cooker recipes that i try.
but in the reader survey i conducted earlier this fall, y’all asked for more slow cooker recipes, and i’m with you, as long as they taste good. so when i came across a slow cooker recipe in my paper binder archives on which i had scribbled “actually good”, i took notice.
you see, over the past few years of trying recipes, both for this site and because we have to eat dinner every night, i had noticed that many of the slow cooker recipes i tried seemed to develop a similar unpleasant flavor, sort of regardless of what spices/ingredients went in them.
after reading an article in cook’s illustrated about slow cookers and how good and bad ones differ, i had an epiphany about what might be going on. i think my slow cooker (which is about as basic as they come and quite old) runs hot. consequently, as whatever is cooking evaporates a little bit and the liquid level in the pot drops, the residue that gets left behind burns and gives the food an off flavor.
to test my theory/make something in the slow cooker that actually tasted good, i cooked a batch of this slow cooker turkey chili. once i had everything combined in the slow cooker, i wiped off the inside rim of the pot to get rid of any residue that would be prone to burning, then set the lid in place and let it go for 8 hours.
success! a slow cooker recipe that was actually worth eating! and bonus points because it’s slow cooker turkey chili and many of us are about to have a whole bunch of leftover turkey that we’re trying to use up before it goes bad. extra bonus points because this recipe is really easy to make, as long as you have a good can opener.
this is not one of those recipes that creates a bunch of dirty dishes before you even *start* the official slow cooking process. you do have to precook the turkey, if you’re starting with raw ground turkey, BUT with thanksgiving coming, i bet you might have a small mountain of leftover cooked turkey, just waiting to be used in this slow cooker turkey chili. which would mean you don’t even have to wash one skillet. this is my “in the days after thanksgiving, i can’t bear the thought of cooking but dinner still has to be made. and we sure do have a lot of turkey…” gift to you. enjoy! and happy thanksgiving!
slow cooker turkey chili
- 1 pound (16 oz. / 454 g.) ground turkey (or leftover thanksgiving turkey, shredded)
- 10.75 oz. (305 g.) low sodium tomato sauce in a can
- 14.75 oz. (418 g.) diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 4 oz. (113 g.) canned chopped green chilies
- (2) 15 oz. (425 g.) cans low sodium kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 15 oz. (425 g.) canned low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons chipotle in adobo, diced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 pinch ground allspice (optional/if you have it)
- optional for serving: chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips
- if you are using leftover cooked (thanksgiving) turkey, skip to step 2. if you’re starting with raw turkey, heat a medium size nonstick skillet over medium heat. brown the turkey, using a spatula to break the turkey into small pieces as it cooks. cook all the way through until all of the pink is gone. drain, if necessary.
- combine everything except the optional toppings. stir well and wipe the inside rim of the slow cooker pot clean so that the tomato doesn’t burn and create an off flavor.
- cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- stir well, ladle in to bowls, and top as desired. leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days or they freeze well for longer storage. i like to freeze individual size portions for quick and easy lunches. alternatively, leftover chili would be good on nachos, if you’re into that sort of thing, or you could put it in a casserole dish and add some cornbread batter on top for a spin on chipotle tamale.
i know i’m more fanatical about keeping sodium down than most but in this case, where you are combining so many cans, it’s worth it to make sure each can is as low in sodium as possible, as you still end up with about 25% of your daily sodium allowance if you do stick to low sodium versions.
adapted from laura’s quick slow cooker turkey chili on all recipes.
slow cooker turkey chili
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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