What To Do When You Love Your Too-Spicy-For-Children-Soup: Chipotle Turkey Chili Verde & Consequent Chilaquiles

Do you have small children? Can they take heat?

I take pride in my children’s diets—they eat, almost without exception, what we eat. The exception is when I make something too hot. I figure it is my fault—after all if they don’t enjoy their tongues burning, who am I to say that’s picky? It IS actual pain. Of course I hope they grow out of it, but for now they are toddlers and we cook almost entirely without heat, preferring to add it at the table.

One of the types of heat that I have trouble adding at the table is chipotle. This is because more than any other hot pepper—dried or fresh—it has such a strong flavor that to leave it out really compromises the flavor of the dish. So I push the envelope and about half the time I would say I fail, and Alex in particular cries and says “Too spicy! Too spicy!” (Of course some things that she LOVES, like that Thai Sweet Hot Garlic Dipping Sauce, I notice that she is willing to eat—then it is “This is SPICY—I need WATER!” So I know it is just a mater of time and patience.)

When this happens, I have to figure out how to deal with the next night’s dinner (i.e., those extra flavorful leftovers) in such a way that allows my meal to not go to waste and also me to not end up cooking entirely separate meals for my kids. So this recipe is 2 in 1—the original chili and then the chilaquiles I made from it for my children when I discovered that the chili was too hot. Please note though that this particular recipe does not suffer too much from reducing the chipotle—I know because I made it with less last time and the whole family loved it. It has more than enough flavor outside of the chipotle. So if you are uncertain, only add 1 chipotle.

This chili is not particularly pretty—but it has outstanding and unique flavor. It is especially tasty on cool spring evenings, when it is too soon to grill but you don’t want the traditional tomato-based chili that reminds you of January. Full of tomatillos, onions, peppers, beans and turkey, this super healthy dish is my submission to the ARF/5-A-Day, hosted by Cate over at Sweetnicks.

Chipotle Turkey Chili Verde

Adapted from Gourmet

*Please note this is a large recipe—halve it for a more typical chili recipe. Also note it is a long recipe—the chili needs to cook for at least 1 ½ hours, so be sure you start it early enough.


2 canned whole chipotle chilies in adobo*

1 cup boiling hot water if using dried chilies*

2 lbs fresh tomatillos (available at Hispanic markets and may supermarkets) or 2 26 oz cans whole tomatillos, drained**

2 large onions, chopped

8 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 T ground cumin

3+ lbs ground turkey (err on side of going over 3 lbs)

2 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican orégano, crumbled

1 t salt, or to taste

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 sweet bell pepper, chopped (yellow looks the prettiest)

2 4 oz cans mild green chilies, drained and chopped

1 T cornmeal

2 cans (or ½ lbs dried) beans, rinsed and drained (white is prettiest, I used Yellow Indian Woman)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Juice from 1 lime

sour cream and shredded Monterey Jack cheese as an accompaniment if desired

*If you need to use dried chipotles, stem and seed them wearing rubber gloves. Then, in a small bowl let them soak in the boiling-hot water for 20 minutes, and in a blender purée the mixture, reserving the purée.

**The original Gourmet recipe leaves out the instructions for what to do with the tomatillos—although it is clear they should be pureed. I used canned as I cannot find fresh around here. Just drain the cans and then puree. If you are using fresh… well, I have yet to ever use fresh tomatillos since I cannot get them. Some people said in the reviews they boiled them first.

Heat a large heavy dutch oven (at least 7 qt) over medium high heat. Add the oil and then the onions and 2/3 of the minced garlic. Cook until softened, around 8-10 minutes. Add the cumin, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the turkey and cook the mixture, stirring and breaking up the lumps, until the turkey is no longer pink. Add the reserved chipotle purée, the reserved tomatillo purée, the broth, the bay leaf, the orégano, and the salt and simmer the mixture, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep the turkey barely covered, for 1 hour.

Stir in the bell pepper, the canned green chilies and the cornmeal and simmer the chili, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans, the coriander, the remaining minced garlic and salt to taste, simmer the chili for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the beans are heated through, and discard the bay leaf. Add the lime juice and taste for seasoning—i.e., more salt or lime juice.

The chili may be frozen or made 3 days in advance, cooled, uncovered, and kept covered and chilled. Serve the chili with the sour cream and shredded Monterey Jack cheese (my family also likes crushed tortilla chips).

Chipotle Turkey Chili Verde Chilaquiles


Drizzle of olive oil

¼ onion, diced

½ sweet bell pepper, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

3 eggs, whisked with some salt and pepper (and some hot sauce if heat is not an issue—we like Tapatio)

1/3 cup of Chipotle Turkey Chili Verde

Cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat a skillet over medium high heat; drizzle it with olive oil when hot (barely any for flavor if nonstick; more if not). Add the onions and cook until softened and beginning to take on some color, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and sweet bell pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the eggs and stir, scrambling. Turn the heat down to low and continue to scramble. When they are beginning to look solid, add the Chipotle Turkey Chili Verde and mix in thoroughly. Remove pan from heat when the eggs are still a tad undercooked.

Place a layer of tortilla chips onto a plate or shallow bowl. Scoop the cooked egg mixture over the chips and then garnish with cheese, sour cream, and chopped cilantro. Drizzle with extra chili depending on the tastes of the diner. Serve immediately.


  1. Kitchen Queen Victoria says

    Oh YUM! These both look great and are being now being printed for my recipe file.

    Have you tried growing tomatillos? If I can in SW Pennsylvania, you should be able to in western Ohio. Fresh (as most vegetables) are so much better than canned. :)


  2. Laura says

    I have planned to try to grow tomatillos as soon as we move–canned green veggies always give me the wiggins from the loss of color, although I have made an exception for tomatillos since they are hard to get. I have it in my head that they would not be good container vegetable plants but maybe I am wrong. My daughter and I are growing lettuce and tomatoes though–maybe I should look into pot tomatillos!

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