After listening to Jersey girl Diane Sanfilippo at the gym this afternoon, I was all fired up to make something paleo. It was also kinda grey and cold outside, after a few spectacular sunny and warm days. I always think "chili" in times like these.

Standing in the middle of Whole Foods with no plan (which is a really bad idea, BTW) I contacted Google for further instructions. After a breif browse of the options, I settled on this one, for turkey & cilantro chili, serves four. Reasonable enough, but the point of making chili is to have a vat of meat percolating on your stove for a while, so I decided to make some adjustments to the recipe, starting with doubling it. I also ventured into new territory with the sweet potato, and was slightly delirious after slicing two of my fingertips open on a cantankerous can of tomato paste about halfway through the process, so as I put the whole mess on the simmer I did not have high hopes for this endeavor.

Which is why I'm writing all this down. Because it "turned out awesome" (as was often heard on American Chopper). So without further ado, here is my take on Cat's Turkey & Cilantro chili recipe. The original ingredients list follows (with my adjustments in parentheses), and the directions are just slightly modified from the original.

Turkey & Cilantro Chili

serves 4 (serves 6-8)

  • 12 oz ground turkey (two pounds of ground turkey)
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into large chunks (I used two, would use even one or two more next time)
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped (two large white onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (9 cloves; I have no idea what two cloves of garlic even means)
  • 1 tbsp butter (3 tbsp butter, plus 1 tbsp coconut oil)
  • 1 tsp cumin (1 tbsp cumin)
  • 2 tsps paprika (2 tbsp paprika, plus a tbsp or so of chili powder, plus some onion powder I had lying around)
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (2 jalapenos, cored and seeded)
  • 1 poblano pepper, finely chopped (OK this I left alone, but it was a pretty big poblano)
  • 1 bunch (3 oz) fresh cilantro, finely chopped (I also used one bunch, but this was by accident. I'd definitely double this amount next time)
  • 3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped (5 large tomatoes)
  • 8 oz tomato paste (12 oz tomato paste)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (4 cups mushroom stock)

OK, here we go.

  1. Melt 2 tbsp of the butter and coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, and throw some salt and pepper in there while you're at it. Let that work for a few minutes while you chop other shit.
  3. Add the garlic and the peppers. Throw in another tbsp of butter, because everything looks dry and thirsty. Saute over a medium heat for five minutes. (optional: cut yourself on a can of tomato paste, and after refusing to accept any help, enlist help from spouse for next step, while you curse and hold a tissue on your fingers)
  4. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and sprinkle in the cumin and paprika. Let fry until the turkey colours then stir in the tomato paste.
  5. Toss the tomatoes into the pot, followed by the potatoes.
  6. Pour in the broth. Add the chili powder, the onion powder if you have it (1 tsp or so),
  7. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Let it simmer for 45 minutes, stirring regularly, but not continuously like Henry Hill's brother in "Goodfellas".
  8. Turn off the heat, add the cilantro and stir it in. Go apply a proper dressing on your fingers.
  9. Eat.


  • I thought that would be way too much tomato paste, but it turned out awesome. The whole thing totally changes once you put in the cilantro.
  • Speaking of cilantro, I meant to double the amount but messed up. I still think more would be better, but maybe not twice as much. The original recipe also simmers the cilantro over heat for 5 mins, whereas I just put it all on at the end, off the heat. Somewhere in all of that lies the magic answer.
  • Speaking of heat, the "heat" was just right, just a slow burn. The jalapenos were medium sized for jalapenos, and the poblano was probably about 9" long. I loosely cored and seeded them; in other words, there was still some core and seeds in there, just not much.
  • I added a couple of spoonfulls of lime juice to mine, and that helped it turn out awesome.
  • Brenda added some Emmentaler cheese to hers. I believe she felt that was awesome.
  • The sweet potatoes really were awesome. For the amount of everything else in there, I would definitely add one or two more to the pot. I can't remember which ones I bought, but they were kinda off-white-colored inside, not the orange I'm used to seeing. They tasted really good, not too sweet at all. (Can you tell I never used to eat sweet potatoes before getting into paleo?)