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slow cooking American, Southwestern
Turkey and Corn Chowder with Barley Recipe-8714

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 1


A steaming bowl of this zesty rib-sticking chowder will satisfy even the pickiest eater. It is equally good made with previously uncooked turkey or meat leftover from the holiday bird. Add whole grain rolls and a green or sliced tomato salad for a delicious light meal. Use a large (minimum 6 quart) slow cooker.



  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano leaves, crumbled
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) cracked black peppercorns
  • 8 cups (2 L) homemade Chicken Stock or prepared chicken or turkey stock

  • ¾ cup (175 mL) whole (hulled) or pot barley, rinsed (see Mindful Morsels in Notes)
  • 2 lbs (1 kg) skinless boneless turkey, cut into ½-inch (1 cm) cubes (about 3 cups/750 mL)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ancho or New Mexico chili powder, dissolved in 2 tbsp (25 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (see Notes)
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper or chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced, optional (see Notes)
  • Finely chopped cilantro, optional


1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast cumin seeds, stirring, until fragrant and they just begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a mortar or a spice grinder and grind. Set aside.

2. In the same skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring, until celery is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, peppercorns and reserved cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add chicken stock and stir well.

3. Add barley, turkey and corn. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until turkey and barley are tender. Stir in chili powder solution. Add green pepper and jalapeño pepper, if using, and stir well. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until pepper is tender. To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro, if using.


You can also make this soup using cooked leftover turkey. Use 3 cups (750 mL) shredded turkey and add it along with the green pepper after the soup has cooked.

If you don’t have pure ancho or New Mexico chili powder, use your favorite chili powder blend, instead.

Add the jalapeno pepper if you like a bit of heat, or the chipotle pepper if you like a hint of smoke, as well.


This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, continue with Step 3.

Mindful Morsels

Ounce for ounce, nippy jalapeño peppers contain more nutrients than bell peppers, their sweet-tasting relatives.

Natural Wonders


A serving of this tasty soup is an excellent source of vitamin B6. The peppers and the turkey are a source of this important nutrient, which will help to keep your body running in tip-top form. Vitamin B6 supports your nervous system, helping your body deal with stress. One study conducted at Tufts University’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging found a link between lower levels of B6 and increased levels of irritability in the subjects studied. Vitamin B6 also helps your body create protein so it can make new cells. Due to its important role in cell formation, a B6 deficiency shows up promptly on the skin. Because skin is constantly renewing itself, it’s likely to reveal problems with cell regeneration in advance of other organs. A skin disorder, such as eczema or seborrhea, may be one of the first symptoms of a deficiency of this vitamin. According to a recent study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, vitamin B6 may also lower the risk of colon cancer, one of the most common cancers in North America.

© 2006 Judith Finlayson

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

340kcal (17%)
53mg (5%)
15mg (26%)
19mcg RAE (1%)
74mg (25%)
370mg (15%)
3g (16%)
13g (19%)
3mg (17%)

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  • Melissa Frisk

    02.18.13 Flag comment

    I did an online search for Turkey Chower and this one popped up witht he others. All the others I looked at sounded so typical and boring, so I thought I'd try one with some heat in it.

    I make this with homemade turkey stock (left over from the turkey I made last weekend). WOW. After cooking on the stove for 2 1/2 hours, I tasted it and thought....how blandish BUT WAIT!!!. Then I added the Chipotle in Adobo sauce and the chili powder mix with green peppers and OMG it became the absolute most flavorful soup I've ever tasted. Cooked 30 nore minutes as suggested and it was so good I couldn't stop eating it. The heat from the peppers is subtle but definately wakes up tastebuds I haven't used in awhile :-)

    Thank goodness I made a huge batch, I woke up this morning thinking about it!

    I now subscribe to this website and will go to it for inspiration whenever I'm ready to cook. Thanks so much!!!!

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