Leftover Turkey Chili Topped with Chili-Toasted Pecans

Submitted by:

American Pecan Council | Epicurious

Nothing completes the holidays like turkey leftovers, and few dishes are as quintessential to the winter table as chili. We combined the two with this warming holiday meal that will make you see pecans in a new light (and keep everyone coming back for more).


  • For the chili
  • 2 Guajillo chiles, stems removed
  • 1 Ancho chile, stem removed
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, plus 1 tbsp. of adobo
  • 1/4 cup of pecan oil or olive oil
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in turkey drumsticks (about 3 pounds) or leftover turkey meat
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 12 ounces Pilsner or other light beer (optional)
  • 1 15-ounce Can of pinto beans, rinsed
  • For the Chili Toasted Pecans
  • 1 cup of pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons pecan oil or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


To make the chili:

  1. Toast guajillo and ancho chiles in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, tossing, until darkened in color and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add 1 cup boiling water. Let sit 10 minutes. Add chipotle chile and adobo and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Set chile purée aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season turkey generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches if needed, cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic to same pot; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in cocoa, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until onion is coated and paste begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add reserved chile purée and bring to boil. Cook, stirring, until thickened and darkened in color, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, beer, and 4 cups water; season with salt and return turkey to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered, until meat is tender and just falling off the bone, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.
  4. Remove turkey from pot and let cool slightly. Remove skin and bones from meat; discard. Shred meat and return to pot. (If using leftover turkey meat, you can simply add it to your chili at this point in the recipe.) Add beans and simmer, adding more water as needed, until meat is beginning to fall apart and beans are very tender, 30 to 35 minutes; season chili with salt to taste.

To make the Chili-Toasted Pecans:

  1. Mix Pecans with pecan oil and toss with mixture of chili powder, cayenne, and kosher salt and spread on sheet pan. Place in 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 12 mins. Sprinkle atop chili before serving.

Garnishes, if desired:

  1. While pecans are toasting slice limes into wedges. chop red onion and fresh cilantro. Serve chili with lime wedges, sour cream, red onion, and cilantro.

Nutrition facts




26 g

Sat Fat

6 g


1010 mg


15 g


5 g


46 g

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