Deer Valley-Style Turkey and Black Bean Chili Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Deer Valley-Style Turkey and Black Bean Chili Recipe

Are we having fun yet?!  Good, good.  I have been running around the house yesterday and today like a busy bee, very excited that the big day is almost here.  I’m taking a quick breather from the Thanksgiving marathon just to touch base and check-in with you all.  Hope everything is going according to plan and that you’re enjoying the process.  What I am not doing today, however, is sharing a Thanksgiving recipe on the day before Thanksgiving because I know you are all planners and that ship has sailed!

Instead, I thought I would give all you super organized and efficient people a great way to use up any leftover turkey you might have on Friday.  I always make turkey stock and a simple turkey vegetable soup the day after.  I have also given in to chicken pot pie or shepherd’s pie with turkey.  But I also think it’s nice to make something on Friday that tastes NOTHING like the dinner you just spent a month thinking about!  It’s actually one of my strategies for getting everyone excited to eat leftovers even the day after Thanksgiving.

This recipe is inspired by the fabulous chili at the Deer Valley ski resort in Utah.  I first skied Deer Valley in 1994 when my husband and I were engaged.  He and his family have been going to the resort since it first opened over 30 years ago.  It is a really special place and we are fortunate to be able to go there a couple times each year with the kids.  Although I enjoy skiing and Deer Valley is absolutely stunning, I’m not super gung-ho about getting out there early and making the most of my day on the slopes.  I’m really in it for the food.  My favorite part about skiing is building up a good appetite and rewarding myself with a nice hearty lunch.  I actually start thinking about this turkey chili when I sit down on the chair lift for the first run of the day!

Turkey chili is one of the few items that the resort serves every single day.  I happen to notice the the lunchrooms also serve a roast turkey plate every single day.  Hmmm, could it be the kitchen needed to find a way to use up yesterday’s roast turkey?  Hmmm….  Anyway, we all love this chili because it’s lighter than a beef chili and a totally different take on the typical red, tomato-based ones that are so common.  This one is lighter and tastes fresher, perhaps because of all the delicious vegetables.   Regardless, all the signature shops on the mountain and many of the local grocery stores sell the special seasoning packet and the dried black beans in addition to the recipe so you can make it at home.  For $7 or $8 plus the cost of the turkey, vegetables and stock, you can make this pot of deliciousness at home.   Hmmm….$8 for 1/2 pound of dried beans and a few dried spices.  It wasn’t long before I decided I need to figure out what the heck was in that seasoning packet!

I can’t say this turkey chili is exactly like Deer Valley’s, but it’s close enough and I’m not sure my kids have noticed.  For sure I use half the amount of butter than the recipe calls for and I omitted the leeks, which I think don’t make or break this chili.  I also don’t use canned creamed corn, because ugh — canned and creamed and sugar don’t go with corn — so instead I just make a little corn puree.  The only ingredient you may not have lying around is masa, which is ground dried corn that’s been treated with lime.  It’s what corn tortillas and tamales are made from.  I have to say, it does thicken up the chili and give it a fabulous Southwestern corn flavor.  It’s also not an expensive ingredient, so I say definitely go for it.

Alrighty, dear readers, that’s all the time I have today. I am elbow-deep in sweet potatoes and butternut squash and my kids are starting to bicker about who gets to pick the music we listen to while we work.  Ahhh, sounds like Thanksgiving!  Hoping you all have a lovely holiday.  xoxo


5.0 from 3 reviews
Deer Valley-Style Turkey and Black Bean Chili
Serves: 8
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (you can use oil, but it won’t be as good) -- vegans can use organic Earth Balance
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless turkey breast, cut into 1-inch cubes or cooked turkey, cubed -- vegetarians and vegans can add 5 cups of additional vegetables and beans
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery, about 3 stalks
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded (or leave seeds for extra heat) and finely diced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • ¼ cup masa harina (more if you like a thick chili)
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (cut back if you don't like spicy)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple sugar or natural cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (double if you’re using unsalted stock)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 ½ cups of chicken or turkey stock, divided* -- vegans can use vegetable stock
  • 2 ¼ cups frozen sweet corn, thawed (about 12 ounces)
  • 5 cups or 3 15-ounce ounce cans cooked black beans (drained and rinsed)
  1. Melt butter in a large pot. If using raw turkey, add half the turkey and sauté until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining turkey. If using cooked turkey, do not saute in butter, but add in step 3.
  2. Add the onion, pepper, celery, jalapeno, and garlic to the pot and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the masa harina, spices, sugar, salt and pepper to the pot and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Return turkey and any accumulated juices back to the pot.
  4. Add 4 cups stock, 1 cup corn and the beans to the pot. Take the remaining 1 ¼ cup of corn and puree with the remaining ½ cup stock in a food processor (a mini processor works too.) Add the pureed corn to the pot. Mix well and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered for 25 minutes. Serve with desired condiments (sour cream, cheese, minced onion, cilantro) or serve on top of a baked potato.
*If you only have stock in 32 oz. containers, no need to open a new one just for a ½ cup of stock. Puree corn in ½ cup water.




Deer Valley-Style Turkey and Black Bean Chili | Pamela Salzman

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  1. This was delicious thank you! It was a big hit at our neighborhood Halloween potluck. 1/4 tsp cayenne & a milder pepper than jalapeño was even a little spicy for our mild tastes!

    • Great! Write notes to yourself on the recipe so the next time you make it, you’ll reduce the heat to make it perfect for your taste! 🙂

    • That’s wonderful! A little goes a long way with cayenne. Next time you can omit it or try smoked paprika for a smoky flavor without the heat.

  2. I have been making this chili for 30 years after finding it in the Deer Valley Lodge during a ski day. I used to get the little packets of ready to make Deer Valley Chili sent to me from the Deer Valley Gift Shop, but I am happy to see this recipe here. This is the only chili my family likes. I see other comments asking about substitutions and omissions. I must say that if you can make this exactly as directed in this recipe, it is well worth it. The masa harina is key here although I have crushed up chips or corn tortillas instead and it has worked out well. I would never use ground turkey as it is much less refined, and cooking the turkey or chicken in step 1 instead of adding cooked turkey later makes for a fuller flavor also.

    • Thank you, Wendy. Completely agree!

  3. Hi Pamela! Is masa harina a deal-breaker here or can it be made without it (or subbed with something I might have in the kitchen)? Thanks!

    • The masa harina does help thicken up the chili and give it a great corn flavor. I haven’t tried this, but I would try soaking 1-2 corn tortillas until soft and mash or puree to add to the chili.

  4. My family skied at Deer Valley for the first time in Dec 2019, and fell in love with the resort and the turkey chilli.
    Thanks so much for this recipe- it turned out great, it’s a hit with my husband, and even the fussy teenager loves it!

  5. Oh Pamela! I would be your worst student – at the last minute I added 8 cups of stock instead of 4! But don’t worry, I did not crack into another 32oz’er – I still used half cup water in the corn purée … the kitchen got chaotic with kids and I’m really not sure what I was thinking, but I will let you know how the soup version turns out!

    • Oh man! I’ve been there. It’s so easy to get distracted. I’m sure it will be fine, although maybe not as thick and not as flavorful. But it will be edible!

  6. Can I use ground turkey in place of the cubed turkey?

    • I haven’t tried that, but I don’t see why not. 🙂

  7. Just made this… another winner! Thank you.

    • So happy you think so!

  8. I like very thick chili and was too heavy handed with the masa. Any tips to salvage? It’s not inedible by any means, just very Masa-y.

    • I would probably add more broth to thin it out.

      • My son made Farmers Cornbread for us yesterday, so I made this to go with it. It was amazing! I subbed chicken for turkey and used 3 kinds of beans. It was so beautiful with the toppings and absolutely delicious! And my son’s cornbread turned out awesome too. Thank you for adding another yummy dish to our family dinner rotation!

        • I appreciate the feedback, Cindy. Sounds like an amazing dinner 🙂

  9. I made this a couple of weeks ago and it was quite yummy. It was such a different type of chili. A nice change. I actually took the leftovers to my mom’s house and they all got to try it too. They thought it was so good. You constantly make me look like such a great cook!

    • News flash: You ARE a great cook!! xo

      • Ha! Thank you. My husband and I were just talking about your recipes versus some other ones I have tried from another blog. He said yours were consistently good and always taste like they should. We are never disappointed. 🙂

        • What a huge compliment! Thank you so much!

          • You are so welcome!

  10. I do not like cumin – at all – could i make this without the cumin? any substitution?

    • You can eliminate it, but it is a classic ingredient in almost every chili recipe, especially the ones without tomatoes. I would just omit it without substituting anything in its place. Let me know if it turns out ok!

  11. Delicious! Cant wait for thanksgiving to have some more leftover turkey!

    • Ha! I always make this Thanksgiving weekend, too. Thanks, Domenica!

  12. Hi Pamela – I made this for dinner tonight with ground turkey and it was awesome…Thank you for another great recipe! Question: I could only find Masa, not Masa Harina. Are all Masa created equal? Can you suggest a brand that is non GMO? Thanks! Allison

    • Bob’s Red Mill is not supposed to be GMO, although they say that it’s hard to guarantee that a GMO seed didn’t fly over from another field, etc. Seriously, that’s what they told me when I called. All I can find GMO free.

  13. Hi Pamela! I made this today for dinner tonight (because we just got back from Deer Valley and fell in love with the chili on the slopes! oh. my. gosh!!! So delicious! I used rotisserie chicken because it was easy to grab in the store. I cut way back spices…used chili powder instead of cayenne and used a small amount of jarred jalapenos (which are milder) because I didn’t want to make an extra trip to the store. I also used 2 cans of black beans and 1 can of pinto beans. I know my kids and husband will devour this tonight. Thank you soooo much!

    • Good for you for making this recipe with what you have! I love that. Hope the family enjoys it!

  14. Pamela – we are out of town so I wanted to try a family dinner meal. This chili is so wonderful! I used some jalapeño and no cayenne and my three kids ate it. I loved the chili too. My son asked why it was not red, like the chili he is used to. We decided it was because there were no tomatoes. It was was a treat for me to have chili with no tomatoes. Thanks for another fabulous recipe.

    • That’s awesome, Sandy! Just so you know, if you have leftovers, it’s great on a baked potato! Happy new year!

  15. This has been a weekly regular since Thanksgiving! It isn’t a hit with the kids (what is!?!?) but having this in the fridge makes quick lunches and weeknight dinners for the adults a breeze. Another *winner* from Pamela!

    • I’m happy that you love it, but I wonder if you cut the spices if the kids would enjoy it, too? My kids are crazy for this! One day maybe!

  16. We had this last night and it was incredibly delicious! What a great recipe. I can always trust your recipes to turn out well! Plus they are so healthy to boot! Thanks so much!

    • Thank you, Joy! Makes me happy it turned out well for you 🙂

  17. Hi Pamela – I made this on Sunday for Monday night’s dinner and it was another hit!!! I used the full teaspoon of cayenne pepper and I am going to definitely cut back next time because I thought it was a little too spicy – but my 6 and 2 year olds didn’t seem to mind!!! They each ate an entire bowl and I have leftovers that they will probably eat again tonight!!! 🙂 Alex

    • That’s great feedback, Alex. Thank you!

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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