Chunks of turkey breast, black beans, two types of corn, and a rich broth with Southwestern flair are why Deer Valley’s turkey chili has been their most popular menu item for 40 years. This is how to make it at home.
A couple of years ago, I was invited to make a video for Deer Valley Resort‘s famous turkey chili alongside one of their chefs. If there’s one thing that’s nearly as famous as Deer Valley’s snow-capped slopes and signature service, it’s their famous Southwestern turkey chili. Did I say yes? Are you kidding me? I jumped at the chance! This was my insider’s chance to get the real-deal details for the only recipe that Deer Valley won’t share with the public.
Because it’s so often requested, Deer Valley offers the seasonings and beans in a mix packet to make the chili at home. So after dissecting and taste-testing their spice mix, then matching it with the method I learned from the chef, I believe I’ve hit upon the best copycat version of their famous Deer Valley turkey chili to make at home. Let’s make some!
What’s In Deer Valley’s Turkey Chili
Unlike other turkey chilis that call for ground turkey, this chili calls for large chunks of cooked turkey breast, making it robust and chunky and the perfect recipe for Thanksgiving leftovers.
- Cooked turkey breast
- Yellow onions
- Red bell pepper
- Masa harina (finely ground cornmeal)
- Rice flour (or all-purpose flour if you don’t need to keep it gluten-free)
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- Chicken broth
- Canned corn (or frozen), drained but liquid reserved
- Canned cream of corn
- Black beans (canned or cook your own)
How to Make Deer Valley Turkey Chili
Chop and sauté the cooked turkey breast. Large chunks are delicious in this chili and really give it body. I usually roast my own turkey breast, but you can also pick up a 2-pound chunk from the deli counter instead. Lightly brown it in butter then remove it from the pot.
Sweat the fresh vegetables in more butter. Add the onion, celery, and red bell pepper to more melted butter until soft and translucent. Don’t get them too soft or they’ll disappear in the broth.
Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl before adding to the sautéed ingredients. Add the turkey back to the pot and sprinkle with the masa harina, rice flour, and spices. Use a wooden spoon to stir so the spice mixture evenly coats the vegetables and turkey.
Simmer and Thicken the Chili
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Used in making tortillas, finely ground cornmeal known as masa harina smoothly blends into the broth and helps thicken. Rice flour is the other thickening agent and keeps the chili gluten-free. Use all-purpose flour if you prefer, but be watchful of any developing clumps.
Add the drained corn kernels and creamed corn, then simmer for 25 minutes. This is where the thickening agents do their work and the chili begins to reduce and thicken.
Lastly, add the black beans and taste for seasoning. Add the black beans at the end so they don’t overcook and break apart. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste.
If the chili is too thick, add some of the reserved juice from the canned corn.
If the chili is too thin, add 1 tablespoon of rice flour to 1/4 cup of the broth, mash into a paste, and whisk into the chili.
Southwestern Turkey Chili Making Tips
Make the chili the day ahead of serving. Chili always tastes best the second day and this recipe is no different. Make it the day ahead of serving then chill for the chili to thicken and the flavors to meld together. Reheat over medium when ready.
If you want to keep it more corn-yellow, skip the paprika. If you want to keep this chili looking more corn-yellow color, omit the paprika, or use just 1 tablespoon instead of two.
Use dry beans instead of canned beans. Soak 1 cup of dry beans in a saucepan overnight in 1 gallon of water. Do not rinse before bringing the beans to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until the beans are tender about 1 1/2 hours. Drain and rinse in cold water.
How to Serve This Chili
To serve, set out a variety of toppings in small bowls and let everyone help themselves. Word to the wise, always have more cheese than you think you’ll need. Chili lovers always love more cheese.
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Chopped green onion or white onion
- Chunky guacamole or diced avocado (here’s how to ripen avocados perfectly)
- Chopped jalapeño
- Tortilla or corn chips
- Spoon over baked sweet potatoes or baked Idaho potatoes
- Make chili nachos with tortilla chips and melted cheese
- Serve over french fries
What to Serve With Turkey Chili
- Cheddar and Jalapeño Skillet Cornbread
- Kale Salad with Cranberries, Apple and Cheddar Cheese
- Ranch Potato Salad
- How to Make the BEST Baked Sweet Potatoes
- 5 Meals to Make With Leftover Chili
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Deer Valley’s Famous Turkey Chili
- 8 tablespoons butter , divided
- 2 pounds cooked turkey breast meat , cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 medium yellow onions , diced
- 7 stalks celery , diced
- 1 red bell pepper , seeded and diced
- 5 cloves garlic , minced or pressed
- 1 cup masa harina
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 15-ounce can corn kernels , drained and juice saved
- 1 15-ounce can creamed corn
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans , rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked black beans
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over high heat in a large 6 qt. dutch oven or stockpot. Add the diced turkey breast and cook until the turkey browns, about 5 minutes. Remove the turkey from the pan and set it aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. When melted, add the onion, celery, red pepper, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables soften, stirring occasionally.
- Add the turkey back to the pot. In a small bowl, whisk together the masa harina, rice flour, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, kosher salt, and paprika. Sprinkle over the turkey and vegetables and stir to coat the turkey and veggies. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring and scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the corn kernels and creamed corn. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the black beans. If the chili is too thick, add some of the reserved juice from the canned corn. If it's too thin, add 1 tablespoon of rice flour to 1/4 cup of the broth, mash into a paste, and whisk into the chili. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and diced green onions.
More Chili Recipes
- Killer Beef and Three Bean Chili
- Slow Cooker Healthy Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili with Quinoa
- Easy White Bean Chicken Chili with Butternut Squash
- Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita Chili
- 20 Chili Recipes to Cozy Up to This Fall
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