I've been hearing about pumpkin chili lately, seen some tasty looking pictures on Pinterest and there are recipes all over the internet, I decided to try making my own. I know you're thinking, "pumpkin?", "in chili?", that's what I was thinking too, but it's actually really great. Be sure you're using straight pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Plain pumpkin puree is like most any other squash puree, delicious but not overly sweet.
I waited until half way through dinner to ask if anyone could guess what the "secret" ingredient was and no one could name it. They were all pleasantly surprised to learn it was pumpkin. I also wanted to try using dried beans and they were so delicious and easy! This hearty chili is tasty, nutritious and perfect for fall. Enjoy!
Recipe: (Serve 4-6)
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice bacon, diced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 pound dried small white beans (~1 1/4 cups)
1 (15oz) can organic pumpkin puree (or make your own as we did here)
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
cilantro, chopped for garnish
cheddar cheese, shredded for garnish
salt & pepper
1. Bring a small pot of ~3 cups water to a rapid boil.
2. In a separate large skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground turkey breaking it up as it cooks. Once the meat is browned and no longer pink, push it out to the sides of the pan and to the middle add the minced garlic and diced bacon, stir until fragrant and bacon begins to render (2-3 minutes). Sprinkle cumin, chili powder and Italian Seasoning over meat mixture to lightly toast the spices and bring out their flavor. Remove meat mixture from heat and add it to the bottom of your slow cooker.
3. To the pot of boiling water add your dried beans and boil at a rapid boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain off all the water. Add the beans to the slow cooker.
4. Add the pumpkin puree, chicken stock and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Fish out those bay leaves, season to taste with salt and pepper if needed and garnish with shredded cheese and cilantro. We had some tasty gluten free cornbread on the side.
*Edited to add: (12/2/13)
Lately I have been substituting a large can of white hominy for the white beans and it is delicious. Cook as per recipe above, omitting beans and add the rinsed and drained hominy when you add the pumpkin and stock, for a tasty twist on a favorite!