This recipe has been passed down through our family for several generations. It reminds me of the holidays because every day or two after Thanksgiving, my grandfather would make up a huge batch of this with the leftover turkey. I loved it as a kid and would happily devour this morning, noon, and night until the leftovers were gone. I hope you enjoy it too! Be sure to check out my note section below the recipe for additional ideas on how to prepare this recipe. Ingredients and instructions with alternative methods are marked with (*) with the corresponding (*) found in the notes section.
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes – 4/8 hours depending on your cooking method
Makes about 6-8 cups
4+ cups of chopped turkey (rotisserie chicken works well as a replacement*)
2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp cold water
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup ketchup
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
In a medium sized (3 quart) cooking pot**, begin heating chicken broth on medium high heat and add in vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and ketchup. Stir to dissolve and mix ingredients.
As ingredients start to bubble and steam, add in cornstarch mix*** and stir briskly with a whisk. Continue to stir until ingredients begin to thicken.
Reduce heat to low and allow ingredients to simmer together for about 10 minutes. Make sure to check and stir sauce every few minutes to prevent burning or congealing on the bottom of the pan.
Once sauce is thickened, add in chopped meat and stir to evenly mix ingredients together. Let this mix simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes to allow the meat to absorb some of the sauce flavors.
Serve over leftover mashed potatoes, on top of leftover rolls, on buns with coleslaw, or by itself!****
*As I mentioned, rotisserie chicken can be used as a substitution for turkey. You could also make this recipe in a crock pot and start with raw chicken breasts along with the sauce ingredients. If you choose to do this method, I suggest you cook it on low for 8 hours to allow the chicken breasts to fully cook. After they cook you could shred the chicken right in the sauce and then mix the ingredients together.
**You can also make this recipe in a crockpot. Using this method allows for better flavor absorption by the meat but you want to make sure to cook it on low to keep the meat from over cooking if you are using pre-cooked leftovers. If you choose the crock pot method, just place all your sauce ingredients in and mix well before adding the meat (raw or cooked).
***The cornstarch mix will only slightly thicken up the sauce and it may appear more runny than you expect. You’re welcome to play around with the cornstarch mix ratio but this recipe allows for the sauce to be thin but not watery.
****There are so many ways to enjoy this recipe. Aside from using it for leftovers, it’s great on top of rice or veggies too. The sauce is very versatile so I’d love to hear how you’ve used it. Leave a comment here on the recipe page and let me know what you did with it. Thanks!
This chili is a recipe I have been making for years now. It changes a little each time depending on how many of each item we have laying around. I don’t like to waste food, so I find ways to incorporate unclaimed items into my recipes. The recipe below is the most common version that I make. There are many options for changes or substitutions that I will note below the recipe. Look for the * symbol for specific notes. It’s an easy recipe. The most time consuming part is cutting up the vegetables.
Prep time: approx. 30 minutes
Cook time: on low 6-8hrs, on high 4hrs
Most of the main ingredients for Crock-Pot Chili
1 lb ground turkey*
About 1 lb cubed steak*
1 medium yellow onion*
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 jalapeño pepper (optional for spice)*
1 can black beans (15 oz.)
1 can kidney beans (15 oz.)
2 -15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
1- 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
16 oz. chicken broth*
3 cloves of garlic or 3 tsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp Himalayan Pink Salt*
2 bay leaves
The spices used in the Crock-Pot Chili recipe
On medium heat, brown and crumble ground turkey in a frying pan (using a little oil to grease the pan).
Trim fat from cubed steak and cut steak down to small pieces- about 1″ cubed or smaller.
Using high heat and an oiled frying pan, sear (brown) each side of the steak pieces but try not to cook them all the way through. The Crock-Pot will do the rest of the cooking and this will keep the steak pieces tender.
Cut onion, red and green pepper, and optional jalapeño into small pieces.
Add all ingredients (except the bay leaves) to the Crock-Pot. With a large spoon, stir ingredients until evenly mixed.
Tuck the bay leaves into the chili alongside the inside of the pot.
Cook in the Crock-Pot on Low for 6-8 hours or on High for 4 hours. Stir ingredients occasionally but it’s not necessary.
*This recipe calls for ground turkey but you can substitute ground beef or even take it out entirely for a vegetarian option.
*This meat is also not necessary for the option of a vegetarian chili.
*I typically use a sweeter yellow onion but any type will do. White onions are also a good option but typically yield a stronger onion-taste.
*The jalapeño is totally optional but is a great addition if you like a little bit of spice. Some jalapeños are spicier than others. Sometimes you can find mild jalapeños. You can add these but they usually won’t be spicy enough to notice in the chili. One “hot” jalapeño is a good amount of spice for this recipe. But feel free to add as much or as little as you want!
*For the chicken broth, I usually use scoops of condensed broth paste dissolved in hot water but you can also use bouillon cubes dissolved or already prepared broth from a package instead. It’s all a matter of choice and convenience.
*Himalayan pink salt has less sodium than table salt. If you have to substitute table salt, make sure to only add a teaspoon or two and possibly just add more to taste after it cooks.
Servings: there are about 15 servings measured with a regular sized ladle.