Carolyne’s Roasted Turkey Chili

As one of seven children growing up on Chicago’s west side, I had two primary responsibilities: watching over my younger siblings and assisting with preparing dinner. My mother was not a good cook, although she got better as the years passed (funny how that happens), she was not a great role model regarding this skill. As a result, my early cooking resulted in dishes open to questions, and dinnertime became a time strictly for sustenance. That may be why I find fine dining is such a gratifying experience today. But I digress.

Because it was cheap and easy for my twelve-year-old self to master, chili was a favored main meal. My recipe began with some cooked ground beef—at least, I think it was ground beef—mixed with some mystery spices from a box or bag. Beans were added as often as not, and the finished, pasty, and unappealing-looking dish was served with saltine crackers. For a special occasion, Velvetta cheese might be added. Yuck!!!

As my culinary curiosity increased, my tastebuds became exponentially more sophisticated as I began to explore different recipes for the same food. And so, at age twenty-one, I purchased my first cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Regardless of what life threw my way, and no matter in what direction I took off, I managed to keep up with that cookbook, and today, although tattered and fragile, on page 164 of the now fifty-five-year-old vintage publication, you can find the recipe for Chile Con Carne, the precursor to Carolyne’s Roasted Turkey Chili.

The roasted turkey part would come some years later. After making roasted turkey thighs for dinner, my plans changed, and the next day, I cut the meat from the bones and made chili. For the recipe, click the link. Enjoy!

Carolyne’s Roast Turkey Chili – Carolyne Lark Swayze (