March 12, 2010

Chunky Chili With Pumpkin

Chili is such a wonderfully versatile dish.  Whether thick or slightly brothy, meaty or full of beans, spicy or (as with this recipe) just a hint of sweetness… it is the perfect one dish meal.  It reheats very well, too, and I often pack it for lunch.

I was a bit skeptical when I first read about adding pumpkin to chili, but the idea was too intriguing to pass up.  I really like how it turned out, and I bet you’ll enjoy it, too!  Pureed pumpkin adds a smooth, velvety background to this very chunky and hearty chili.  The natural sugars in pumpkin come through with just a trace.  I add ground turkey to all of my chilis, but you could substitute ground beef or even forego the meat altogether.  Still delectable!  To make the conglomeration of flavors even deeper, try adding one bottle of your favorite beer.  Amazingly delicious!

Chunky Chili with Pumpkin

1 lb ground turkey
1 cup roughly chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz chunky salsa
1 cup corn kernels
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz pumpkin puree
1 tbs ground cumin
1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, brown the ground turkey.  Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients (salsa through cayenne pepper).  Add up to 1 cup of water to thin the chili if too thick.  Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve topped with your favorite garnish.  I like chopped scallions and a sprinkle of shredded cheese (preferably a sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack).  Bon appetit!

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