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Ancho Turkey Chili

There are a few kitchen gadgets that I do not own… it’s a shock to me too. I see TV chefs putting all kinds of fun things through a food mill and magically there is a beautiful fresh tomato puree with no skin or seeds – can’t I make that happen with a food processor and sieve? The ricer is another contraption I could use to turn out some light and beautiful mashed potatoes – but I don’t really like mashed potatoes.

Soups and sauces are more my thing and there have been many blender blow-ups of hot bisque all over my kitchen. It’s time for an immersion blender – that is a gadget I will use and won’t take up a ton of space. On Christmas Day I opened the box and instantly put it to use for my pork roast pan sauce. I noticed my Dad eyeing the “boat motor” he spent hours shopping for (thanks mom) and his brain was ticking. He’s quite a good cook and has been experimenting with dried chiles for chili and soups… this would be a perfect way to get those chilies pureed.

Since I have been looking for anything to puree lately – I decided to give his method a shot in my healthy turkey chili. I’m a changed person. Really I am. The intensity you get from the dried chili puree can’t be achieved with chili powder alone. The combination of both with the fresh toasted spices is a crazy ride on the flavor boat.

I love this gadget and round 2 with poblanos & chicken is coming soon!

Cooks Notes: You can use a blender to puree the chilis – be sure to push through a sieve to remove any pepper skins. If you don’t have whole spices – use the same measurement of ground spices.

Ancho Turkey Chili


  • 4 to 5 medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (85/15)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • One 15 to 16-ounce can beans – black pinto kidney mix, rinsed and drained


Make Ancho Puree: Place chiles in medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover. Soak until chiles soften, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to eliminate any of the skins.

Toast the spices: In a small, dry skillet, toast the seeds over medium-high heat, shaking the pan often. Keep watch to ensure the seeds don’t burn. When the seeds are fragrant and slightly darker, transfer them to a plate. Cool the toasted seeds, then grind them in a spice mill.

Heat the oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions. Saute until the vegetables soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turkey and saute until no longer pink, breaking up the turkey with the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over and stir to blend. Add the chili puree, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, coriander, sugar, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to blend. Add the broth and beans. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the flavors blend and the chili thickens to desired consistency, stirring often, 20 to 30 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with cilantro, cheese & sour cream.


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