Black Friday Chili

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“Created for a chili cook-off at my place of work, this is a chili created to use up leftover turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. It's very spicy but the sweetness of the cranberries helps combat that heat. NOTE: The recipe, below, is made with non-leftovers. When using already-cooked turkey, mince it finely and don't over-cook. Add it at the end, with the beans. Add a bread stuffing in smaller quantities since it will not have the same thickening power as dried bread cubes. Improvise: each person's Thanksgiving meal is different and will yield different quantities of ingredients. Make this one your own!”
24 large servings

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Start by making the chili spice blend. In a deep, large, dry skillet (mine is 20") over medium-high heat: toast the 5 tablespoons cumin seeds, the black peppercorns, and the fennel seeds until they begin to give off a nutty aroma. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. In a spice grinder (or coffee grinder used only for spices) add the toasted spices to the dried chile de Arbol, the fresh or frozen green finger chiles, cayenne powder, and ancho chile pepper powder. Grind until everything is blended into a fine powder.
  3. After grinding the other spice ingredients, stir in 1 teaspoon of crushed, red chiles to the spice powder and set this chili spice blend aside for later.
  4. Start making the chili in the same skillet you used to toast the spices. Begin by melting the butter in the grapeseed oil over high heat. When the butter has melted, add the 1/4 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds. Stir the whole cumin seeds in the butter and oil for about a minute.
  5. Add the finely diced onion and bell peppers to the skillet and stir to coat in the oil and whole cumin seeds. Sauté until the onion pieces turn translucent. Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté until the onion pieces turn brown on the edges.
  6. Season the vegetables with a bit of kosher salt (to taste) and 1/3 of your chili spice blend.
  7. Breaking it up as you add it to the skillet, add the three pounds of ground turkey. Continue to break it up with a wooden spoon on top of the sautéing vegetables and add another 1/3 of the chili spice blend over the top. Stir the sautéd veggies into the cooking ground turkey. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of crushed red chiles and salt, to taste. Continue to sauté until the turkey is cooked.
  8. In a large crock pot, combine the diced tomatoes, the crushed tomatoes, and epazote. Stir in the remainder of your chili spice blend and the cranberry sauce. Add the sautéd turkey and vegetables. Stir to combine and set the crock-pot to "low" (approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit/93 degrees Celsius). Cover and cook like this for 8 hours.
  9. After 8 hours, re-stir the chili. Increase the temperature of the crock-pot to "high" (approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit/120 degrees Celsius). Add the beans to the crock-pot and stir. Based upon how much liquid you see, add in the dried bread cubes. Do this slowly and fully stir the bread in until it starts to break down. Keep adding bread in small batches until it reaches your desired thickness.
  10. Taste and season with salt.
  11. Simmer, covered, for 1 more hour.
  12. Serve.

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