Slow Cooker Turkey Soup with Ancho Chiles, Lima Beans, and Corn

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 turkey drumsticks (5 lbs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 qt water
2 large ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 fresh red chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
10 oz frozen corn, thawed (2 cups)
10 oz frozen lima beans, thawed (2 cups)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter,softened
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Tortilla chips, for serving


In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Season the turkey legs with salt and pepper and add 3 of them to the skillet. Cook over moderate heat until richly browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the turkey legs to a large slow cooker. Repeat with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining 3 turkey legs.

Pour off the oil in the skillet. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add the garlic and onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the slow cooker. Add the water, ancho chiles, fresh chiles and the cumin. Cover and cook on high heat for 2 hours and 15 minutes, until the turkey is tender.

Turn the slow cooker to low. Transfer the turkey legs to a large rimmed baking sheet to cool slightly. With a slotted spoon, skim the chiles, onions and garlic from the broth transfer to a blender and puree. Add the puree to the slow cooker and stir in the corn and lima beans. Cover and cook for 1 hour, until the lima beans are tender.

Meanwhile, remove the meat from the turkey legs and tear it into bite-size pieces. Discard the skin, bones and tendons. In a small heatproof bowl, blend the butter with the flour to form a paste. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot broth. Whisk the mixture into the soup and add the turkey. Cover and cook, whisking a few times, until the broth is thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips.

Make Ahead
The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.

Serves 6.

Recipe by Marcia Kiesel,