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Cookin' ATVS Style: Lean Turkey/Deer Chili

Back again, just in time for the cold weather.

Billy Gomila

The regular season isn't officially over yet, and bowl season hasn't begun, but it's as good a time as any to bring back the recipe series, and start with another edition of a cold-weather favorite, chili.

Yes, I know making chili with turkey is nowhere near as good as making it with pork, but we adjust. My wife, in the last year, has undergone a pretty radical diet change and I'm really proud of all the work she's done. Part of the deal is that I'm trying myself to be a little more conscious about the food I cook, so some of this year's recipes will probably lean towards the healthy side at times.

The good news is that this is still pretty damn good. I threw in some leftover deer meat for good measure, and with the right herbs, spice and peppers, it still came out pretty good for something low-ish in fat. I also used crushed tomatoes in addition to sauce, to try and create thicker texture.

And yes, I added beans. It gives the chili a little more heft and makes it more filling. Texans can deal with it.

Now, we're a little light on pictures here, but hey, it's chili, y'all know what it looks like.


2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 lb deer meat, diced
4 large jalapeno peppers
8 serrano peppers
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup minced garlic
1 bunch cilantro leaves, diced
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 10-oz can hot rotel tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 box 2-alarm chili (just the chili powder and other spices, as a base)
extra chili powder to taste
1 14.5-oz can chicken broth
1 tbsp garlic powder or to taste
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup worcestshire sauce
4 bay leaves
1 14.5-oz can dark red kidney beans
1 14.5-oz can pinto beans


1. Brown the turkey meat in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, draining off whatever little grease the meat creates.

2. Add the diced onions and garlic and cook until wilted.

3. Add the deer meat, brown well and chili powder and mix well. I like to start with a box of pre-measured mix, and then I just add more powder to taste, trying to cover as much of the tomato acidity as possible.

4. Add the rotel, chicken broth, sauce and crushed tomatoes and mix well. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it go for a while, to cook the deer through. Add the remaining spices: the nutmeg, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, apple pie spice, garlic powder and the worcestshire.

5. Taste and adjust the chili powder as needed.

6. Simmer for a half-hour to 45 minutes, then add the diced peppers and chopped cilantro. Simmer for at least an hour, add the beans, wait another half-hour and serve. NOTE: I've said this before, but if you're a fan of spice, I like leaving the seeds in the jalapeno/serrano peppers in place of adding extra pepper, like ground black or red pepper. In this case, I added the seeds in about four of the serranos. Anymore, and my wife wouldn't have been able to handle it.

This recipe will serve 8-10 people comfortably.