This week, we are back with an unbelievably tasty and easy-to-make Mayan Chili. This dish uses authentic ingredients for pre-Columbian life in Mayan culture, along with the heartiness to make the last few weeks of winter feel like eras away.

We had decided to split Central America into three distinct groups; specifically by the main peoples who lived there. This week, we will be discussing the Mayans, with the next recipe being the Olmec and us ending with the Aztecs. Each culture has their own influences to the history of Central America, even though the foods are very similar.

Let’s talk about Mayan Culture

Plate with Trumpeter, 8th Century C.E. Image Courtesy of the MET.

The Mayan people belong to a rich culture that has stretched throughout the millennia, with their peak between 250 to 1200 c.e. They produced architecturally-stunning structures, detailed hieroglyphs and methods of farming that allowed them to produce a large quantity of ingredients we associate with them, even to today (Maize, Beans, Tomatoes).

In modern days, there is still 6 million Maya currently live in Mesoamerica. They live across the region including: Guatemala, large areas of southern Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Due to a combination of record keeping, the culture still being alive and archaeological records/research; we know that they depended heavily on Maize, Beans and Squash. This also included domesticated animals for food, such as Turkey and Dog. We do have an adventurous palate, however, Turkey is more of our lane.

The Mayan Chili Recipe


Meghan’s Review

4 out of 5 stars

I loved this meal so much. From the tenderness of the turkey, to the heartiness of the tomato and beans. My only regret was that we did not add more peppers or any aromatics (Wild Onion, for example). It’s one of the things I plan to remedy going forward by growing our own.

Brad’s Review

4 out of 5 stars

Dinner was amazing! Everything complimented each other really well. But… I am about to say something that you probably won’t see me say again… It could have used more peppers. I think that it would have given it that little extra.


I'm an IT Product Owner who enjoys playing video games, cooking and painting.

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