My Mama’s Green Chili Turkey

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Green Chili Turkey is sautéed onions, bell peppers, and roasted Anaheim chilies combined with leftover turkey. It’s rich and wholesome and perfect served over rice or as a filling for tacos, burritos or filling for enchiladas. It’s been a family tradition for generations.

Green Chili Turkey in a large pot

This is a great leftover turkey recipe idea.

This is a dish my mom has made every single year for both Thanksgiving and Christmas since I can remember. In fact, growing up my mom cooked two turkeys every year for each holiday – one completely dedicated to this dish, the other to roast and serve traditionally. Guess which one was gone first?

Ingredients

  • Leftover Turkey – We like to use our smoked turkey leftovers for this recipe. You can use any turkey you would like.
  • Olive Oil – This is the base for the sauté.
  • Onion – White or yellow onion is the mildest flavor. You can substitute with red if you want that additional flavor.
  • Garlic – Adds a nice flavor and balance to the recipe.
  • Green Bell Pepper – This is the portion that makes it green chile. You can substitute with Anaheim chile or Hatch roasted green chile for more flavor.
  • Canned Green Chili – This adds more of the chile flavor.
  • Water and Chicken Bouillon Cubes – This is the way my mom makes it. You can use chicken stock instead.
  • Flour – The flour is used with the water for a slurry. This will give the stew it’s thicker texture.
  • Seasoning – Kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and red chile pepper flakes are great additions to season out the green chili turkey.

So what is Green Chili Turkey?

It’s kind of like a combination of a turkey stew, and filling for burritos. It’s not as liquid or soupy as a soup. It has more of a gravy-like consistency and it’s great to serve over rice, or as a filling for tacos or burritos. It has an earthy and rich flavor, but is also light and quite healthy (which is nice following a holiday full of indulgence!).

Green Chili Turkey in a bowl with a tortilla as a side.

It’s my absolute favorite use for any leftover turkey we have after Thanksgiving Day. I just serve it up with some rice and it makes for a light and delicious post-holiday lunch. Sometimes I like to serve it with tortillas on the side to make mini tacos.

How to make Green Chili Turkey

It’s incredibly easy to make.

You start by heating up a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet set to medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers and cook about 5 minutes, just to soften them. Add garlic, cook one more minute.

Green Chili Turkey step 1

Next, make a quick slurry. While the onions and peppers are softening, mix 2 tablespoons of flour with ½ cup of water and shake until the flour is dissolved into the water. Add to the peppers/onion mixture. Add the bouillon now and let it dissolve.

My mom has a thing for bouillon cubes. She swears by them in many of her recipes. This one is no exception. I have at least converted her to using organic gluten free bouillon with no MSG. And I don’t ask questions when it comes to moms cooking, I just eat it. 

Alternatively, I use any leftover gravy in place of the slurry to get it to that rich consistency I’m looking for. 

Green Chili Turkey step 2

Add more water.  Let it simmer until the sauce starts to thicken (about 5 minutes).

Finally, add the leftover turkey, sliced roasted green chilies, spices, and let simmer some more.

Green Chili Turkey step 3

Adjust seasonings and level of heat to your preference.

Done!

Green Chili Turkey

How to serve Green Chili Turkey?

  • My favorite way to serve this dish is alongside rice. The rice soaks up the juicy and flavorful broth. It makes for a light, fresh, and flavorful lunch.
  • I also like to serve them with corn tortillas and a side of home cooked beans and salsa and make mini tacos.
  • Use as a filling for burritos.
  • It makes for a killer huevos ranchero for a hearty breakfast.
  • Green Chili Nachos… mmmmm.  Need I say more?
  • This also makes for an excellent topping for cheese enchiladas!  Just roll up some corn tortillas with shredded cheddar, top with the green chili turkey and some extra cheese, and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to get bubbly. We made these for dinner and the family devoured them.
Green Chili Turkey Enchiladas

To all my family and friends back home, and to all my amazing and supportive readers, have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Now I have a question for you? What is your favorite use of leftover Thanksgiving turkey?

Other Chili Recipe Ideas


If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes. 

This recipe was first published in 2013 and updated in 2018 with new photos and information. 

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

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Now on 2nd edition

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green chili turkey in a bowl
5 from 1 vote

Green Chili Turkey Recipe

This can be a great use for leftover turkey, or as a main meal. Serve over rice or as a filling for tacos or burritos. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 -6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ large onion, sliced, or 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 medium sized green bell pepper,, sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves,, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour,, all purpose or gluten free AP mix
  • 1 ½ cups water,, separated in half
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube,, or bouillon substitute
  • 4 cups of leftover turkey,, shredded
  • 1 4-ounce can green chilis
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes,, optional to add additional heat

Instructions 

  • In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers and cook about 5 minutes, just to soften them.
  • Add garlic, and cook one additional minute.
  • While the onions and peppers are softening, make the slurry. Mix the two tablespoons of flour with ½ cup of water and shake until the flour is dissolved into the water). Add to the peppers/onion mixture. Add the bouillon now and let it dissolve. Let it simmer until the sauce starts to thicken (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the remaining 1 cup of water, turkey meat, and green chilies, and mix to combine.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add more water (or chicken stock) to thin out to a consistency you desire.
  • Season with the salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.

Notes

In place of bullion cube you can substitute chicken or turkey stock. Just mix the stock with the flour to make your slurry versus water. 
You can also add a couple tablespoons of leftover gravy for added richness and umami flavor. 

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 732mg | Potassium: 310mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, holiday, Mexican
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Calories: 184
Keyword: green chili turkey, leftover christmas turkey, Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey, Leftover turkey recipes
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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