There are two things that make for a great Thanksgiving leftovers recipe. The first one is, it shouldn't remind you of the original meal. Plus, and just as important, it should be super easy and simple to make. Not only does this turkey chili mac satisfy those two requirements, it also happens to be incredibly delicious and pretty nice to look at. Garnish with grated cheese, onions, sour cream, and cilantro if desired.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
- 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 pound coarsely chopped leftover turkey
- 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup elbow macaroni
- ½ cup grated white Cheddar cheese
- Heat olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until it starts to soften and turns translucent, about 5 minutes.
- While onion cooks, make the spice mixture by combining chili powder, chipotle pepper, cumin, black pepper, cocoa, cinnamon, and oregano in a small bowl.
- Add garlic and the spice mixture to the onion and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in 4 cups chicken broth, diced tomatoes with chiles, and tomato sauce. Raise the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- Add the leftover turkey meat along with additional chicken broth if needed, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 15 minutes.
- Taste for salt and other seasonings and adjust as needed. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in pinto beans and elbow macaroni and cover tightly with a lid. Cook, covered, until the pasta is just barely tender, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and stir very well. Cover back up and let sit with the heat off for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir in Cheddar cheese, and serve immediately.