Austin Chili

Serves 6-8


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ lbs ground turkey
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp Ancho chile powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1½ tsp masa harina (or fine-ground cornmeal)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy or creamy) or tahini
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 28-oz can diced or whole tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp dried (or 2 tbsp fresh) oregano (preferably Mexican)

Serving Suggestions

  • hot pepper sauce to taste
  • 1 lb cooked whole wheat pasta
  • 8 oz shredded cotija, cheddar or queso fresco cheese
  • ½ white onion, minced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil, add onions and meat, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and meat is browned, about 8-10 minutes. Use a paper towel and tongs to blot any rendered fat from the pan
  2. Make a space in the pot and add garlic. Stir until fragrant and just starting to brown, about 1 minute
  3. Add spices, stirring until the spices are fragrant and toasted, about 30 seconds. Stir in remaining ingredients, scraping the pan bottom to loosen any stuck browned bits
  4. Increase heat to high. As soon as liquid boils, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chili is a deep reddish-brown and somewhat thickened, about 1 hour. Adjust seasonings to taste
  5. Serve over cooked pasta or roasted root vegetables and top with any or all combinations of cheese, black beans, fresh cilantro, minced onions and hot pepper sauce


  1. Ancho chile is dried poblano. It has a much smokier flavor than the New Mexican chile powder made from dried Anaheim or hatch peppers
  2. Masa harina is ground corn flour treated with mineral lime, typically used for making corn tortillas. Tortillas are pureed into moles to give them body and Jeff used the masa harina in the same vein. Alternatively, you may omit the thickener entirely and just cook the chili a little longer


  1. Jeff recommends combining spices in a small bowl and wet ingredients in a larger bowl before you begin browning the meat. You can prep the condiments while the chili is cooking.
  2. Jeff has tried this recipe in a pressure cooker, reducing water to ½ cup and cooking at pressure for 15 minutes