Leftovers Magic Mexican Style

White Turkey Chili with Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread

Photos by Kara Thorpe

Turkey leftovers are always a problem, aren’t they? By a week after Thanksgiving, your family is so sick of turkey and you think you’ve tried all the sneaky ways to disguise it. Try a Mexican flavor! They won’t even know they’re eating that iconic Thanksgiving bird…again. This is one of my favorite dishes year round, and I’m sharing my husband’s recipe with you. We like it spicy, so this recipe has some heat to it. To make it milder, use only 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. We cook it in a large cast-iron pot, but it can be done with a regular pot. It’s also great with shredded chicken!

White Turkey Chili


  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped, seeds removed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 4 cups shredded or finely cubed cooked turkey
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 16-oz. cans great Northern Beans


  1. Saute the onions and jalapeno over medium heat in a tablespoon of olive oil until tender.
  2. Add garlic, stir for one minute.
  3. Add chicken broth, spices, beans, and turkey.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  5. Garnish with shredded Mexican cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Cast-iron Skillet Cornbread

This is my favorite cornbread recipe…it’s rich (it has tons of butter in it!), not too crumbly, and goes with the turkey chili perfectly. You could even use this one for Thanksgiving dinner, too. It’s super easy and quick.


  • ¾ stick of butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups ground yellow cornmeal


  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly mix.
  2. Liberally grease a cast-iron skillet with butter, pour in the batter, and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the top is starting to brown.
  3. Test with a toothpick to determine doneness.
  4. Remove from skillet to cool on rack as soon as possible, or the steam will rust your cast iron. It pops out easily with all that butter in there!

Downloadable, printable version of this recipe here.

Pam Kamphuis
About Pam Kamphuis 68 Articles
Pam Kamphuis is an editor and writer for Piedmont Virginian Magazine and Piedmont Lifestyle Magazines.

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