Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili

Recipe developed by Chef Vivian Howard in partnership with NCSPC

In this recipe, the sweet potatoes stand in for beans and add a pleasing sweetness to an earthy, deceptively rich chili. Serve with sliced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips or cilantro if you like.


Photo Credit: Juli Leonard

  • 1 pound ground turkey (avoid ground turkey breast for this recipe. It’s too lean.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large chipotle pepper in adobo, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 20 turns of the pepper mill, or 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon salt, divided
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  1. In a 4-6 quart Dutch oven, brown the turkey meat in the olive oil over medium high heat. Remove the turkey with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Lower the heat slightly and add the onions, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sweat until the onions are translucent and add the spices. Toast, stirring frequently for about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and the minced chipotle. Add the turkey back to the pot as well as the chicken stock. Bring it up to a simmer and add the sweet potatoes.
  4. Cover and cook at a brisk simmer for about an hour. Check the sweet potatoes periodically, you want them to crush easily under pressure from a wooden spoon but not completely dissolve into the chili. Serve warm.

Number of servings (yield): 4