Thanks for the Leftovers

I used up the last of the smoked Thanksgiving turkey (finally!) in this chili.  I thought the smoky flavor would add a hickory punch, and I was right. The original recipe is from the October 17, 2014 issue of All You.


8 ounces peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15.5-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed


1. Place squash in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on high until soft when pierced with a paring knife, about 3 minutes.

2. Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add turkey, chili powder, cumin and salt; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until meat is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Stir in tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes have cooked down and mixture has thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add squash and beans; cook, stirring, until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve hot.


For step 1, I pre-roasted my squash in the oven for this recipe as I did for the squash soup I made last weekend (see December 7th’s Thai Butternut Squash Soup post:

I opted for kidney beans instead of the black beans listed here– I think they are the quintessential chili bean, and they don’t muddy the color of the chili mixture like black beans do.

Because my turkey was already cooked, I chopped it into bite-sized pieces and put it to the side until step 3. I added the turkey with the tomatoes and let it warm up while the mixture simmered.  Because my turkey wasn’t ground and cooked with the rest of the recipe, the texture of the finished product was more like a stew than a chili.  I had it for dinner last night, and while it wasn’t a gorgeous dish, it tasted great!  The smoke from the turkey combined well with the cumin and chili powder, and the kidney beans made it taste familiar (like my favorite Good Old Chili–I’ll post that recipe another day!)


Verdict:  I would definitely make this again, but I would most likely use the ground turkey as the original recipe suggests.  The smoked turkey adds a great flavor, but I really missed the traditional chili texture that the ground turkey would create.  But as a great vehicle for leftovers, it was a success!


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