USSA Communications VP Tom Kelly Cooks for Olympians and Shares His Secret Recipe Here

Posted By: The Ski Channel on September 16, 2009 2:33 pm

Yesterday Olympic skiers and snowboarders were treated to some homemade turkey chili at the Center of Excellence. Usually, select ‘Olympic’ chefs prepare the meals (often while teaching the athletes how to make them), and always to specific nutritional standards. This time however, the fare was just as nutritious, but U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Association Communications Vice President Tom Kelly did the cooking.

Kelly prepared the dish in part as a nod to the Deer Valley Resort’s classic. If you’ve never skied at Deer Valley, their turkey chili is reason enough to frequent the mountain. It’s a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

Kelly made sure to keep the dish lean and packed full of the goodness the athletes need to recover after tough training sessions. “My challenge in presenting a cooking class to athletes of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding was to be a bit more healthful,” Kelly wrote in his blog, “So, with a little research and tweaking, I came up with this version of a traditional Food Network recipe to create a healthy, yet hearty, turkey chili. And, it’s extremely simple to make.”

According to Kelly, the key to keeping the turkey chile healthful is in how you shop for the ingredients. Here are some of his guidelines:

*Keep the sodium down. Look at the cans – especially when selecting beans and tomatoes.

*Avoid fatty toppings like cheese, sour cream, and deep fried chips.

*Choose low-fat turkey. Go for a 7% fat content rather than 15%. Jennie-O has 20 oz. packages in 7%, and even 1%.



Serves 4-6

Chili Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, preferably Penzey’s Chili 3000
  • 1 teaspoon red chipotle chili powder, preferably Penzey’s
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle chile en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 1 tablespoon sauce
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably around 7% fat content (you can go a little bigger with the 20 oz. Jennie-O packages, if you like)
  • 1 12-ounce bottle Mexican lager-style or other beer, I prefer Dos Equis Amber
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced peeled tomatoes, with their juice (preferably low sodium)
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can kidney or white beans, rinsed and drained, preferably low sodium


  • Sliced scallions (green onions)
  • Chipped fresh cilantro
  • Whole wheat tortilla strips (cut tortillas into strips and place on baking sheet; spray with canola oil and bake until crisp, about 4-6 minutes)


  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile and sauce; cook 1 minute more.
  • Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, along with their juices, and the beans; bring to a boil.
  • Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes.
  • Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the garnishes of your choice.



photo: USSA/Lindsey Sine