Pumpkin Chili

A friend bestowed upon me a glut of sugar pumpkins. So, I went online and began a search for pumpkin recipes. Turns out there's quite a few interesting uses for pumpkin, but for this post I'll confine myself to Pumpkin Chili. The pumpkin puree adds a hearty, earthy flavor. After making it a couple of times, I've come up with this version as a starting point. The great thing about chili is you can adapt and modify it any number of ways based on what you like or what you happen to have in the refrigerator and pantry. So use this as a starting point and improvise as you like!

Serve 8-10

Heat 1-2tbs oil in large stockpot, then saute until tender:
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
Add to onions and green pepper, and saute until turkey is no longer pink:
  • 1.25lbs ground turkey
Add following ingredients to ground turkey mixture, and saute 1-2 minutes more:
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-3tbs chili powder, or to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Add the following to the seasoned ground turkey mixture:
  • 2c pumpkin puree, fresh or 1-15oz canned pumpkin
  • 2 - 14oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 - 14oz cans red kidney beans
  • 2 - 4oz cans green diced chilies
  • 1 - 15oz can chicken broth
  • 1 - 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 - 6oz can tomato paste
  • water, adjust amount depending on the consistency you like
  • salt and pepper to taste
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Taste again and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Serve with your choice of toppings: sour cream, grated cheese, chopped red onions, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, etc.
Instead of ground turkey, you can of course use ground beef, or add 1-2cups of cooked, shredded chicken to the chili towards the end of the cooking period, just to heat thru the chicken. Or for a vegetarian version, substitute 1cup of bulgur, first soaked in hot water for 15 minutes.
In place of some of the tomato sauce and paste, I've even used leftover pizza sauce. Love these "everything but the kitchen sink" -type recipes!
I included a link (see above) on how to make your own pumpkin puree. My own preferred method is to split the sugar pumpkin in half, scrape out the seeds, then place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 45 min - 1hr. Just stick a knife or fork into the pumpkin and test to see if it is soft. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out pumpkin. I like to use a ricer to "mash" the pumpkin, but a hand-held immersion blender works too. I also like to drain the pumpkin puree so it's not as watery. I simply rice the pumpkin directly into a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for an hour or so over a bowl.


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