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Dinner Tonight: January 14, 2016 Vito's Turkey Chili

Vito's Turkey Chili


One person lists several things, and the others guess what the title of the list would be. (Sand, sunscreen, surfboard: Beach Vacation!)


If you could make money doing whatever you love to do, what would you want to do for a living?

In honor of Father’s Day, this recipe comes to us courtesy of Executive Director Lynn Barendsen, her husband John, and John’s dad, Vito. John says, “My father used to make a really robust chili with sausage and beef. Then he became sick and he couldn’t eat a lot of what he used to enjoy. Nonetheless, he still loved to cook, so he worked to adapt his recipes as best he could. In a small way, this recipe represents my dad’s resilience.” John also notes that his dad wouldn’t have added the cheese and sour cream many people love on top of their chili, and that the toppings – while delicious – aren’t necessary to enjoy Vito’s special chili recipe.


  • 2 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tblsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 Tblsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tblsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-0z can whole tomatoes, with juice
  • Optional: 1 chipotle chile (canned in adobo), chopped


  1. Heat oil in a large pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add turkey and cook, stirring, until it changes color (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add garlic, spices and black beans. Stir over low heat for a minute to coat the turkey in the spices.
  4. Add tomatoes and juice and, if using, chipotle.
  5. Bring to a boil, breaking tomatoes apart with a wooden spoon.
  6. Cook, uncovered, over medium to low heat for 30 minutes or until the mixture is thickened
  7. Taste and adjust spices. Serve hot with toppings if desired, such as cheese, avocado, cilantro and sour cream.

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