Chipotle chili ragu with creamy polenta recipe

By Linda Shiue

Published February 1, 2011 1:30AM (EST)

Texans may protest this healthy version of chili, to which I say, give it a chance! I use turkey instead of beef and add a lot of vegetables and beans for taste, texture, color and nutrition. The slow burn of the cayenne and the smokiness of the chipotle are a nice contrast to the creamy smoothness of the polenta. 

Serves: 6-8

Chipotle Bean and Turkey Chili


  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 15-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 15.5-ounce cans of beans, rinsed and drained (any combination you like of black, kidney, pinto, etc.)
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, pepper and carrots and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add cumin and stir well to combine.
  4. Add ground turkey, and increase to high heat, and cook until meat is well cooked.
  5. Add in tomatoes, water, chipotle and adobo sauce, oregano and cayenne. Reduce heat back to medium, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add beans and cook for another 20-30 minutes.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy Polenta


  • 4 cups chicken stock or water
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups yellow polenta or cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Garnishes: 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or cheddar cheese, a handful of minced fresh Italian parsley, minced onion


  1. Pour stock or water and cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Pour in polenta and whisk briskly to combine and prevent clumping. Reduce heat to low and continue to whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until you have a thick porridge.
  3. Add butter and stir until melted. Serve topped with chili, grated cheese, parsley and minced onion.

Linda Shiue

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