I’ve been making pumpkin chili off and on for years now… It seems to be my fall go-to for chili because ,#1 I’m not happy unless there’s chili in the freezer and, #2 making different kinds of chili changes up the menu and wakens the palate. Today’s version creates a pretty smooth, but not-too-spicy chili that doesn’t taste pumpkiny, but still has all the potassium, fiber, nutrients, and overall health goodness pumpkin offers. Pumpkin is also low in calories: go, pumpkin! If you are partial to chunky Pumpkin-Chicken Chili, try my stovetop version made with boneless chicken thighs and lots of vegetables like zucchini, along with both pureed and chunks of pumpkin.
The weather has finally been cooling off just a little (hence pumpkin chili time) and we’ve gotten away from the book sorting and unpacking (lots of just-finished remodeling around here) by eating outdoors/enjoying the deer in our back yard (below), baking pie for our wine group fall dinner yesterday, taking “the babies”–read that dogs–for hikes, or going to the mountains to see the glory of the aspens and stopping for fish and chips in Divide, Colorado. I normally eat fish and chips about once in 10 years, if that. McGinty’s is one place I splurge. (Intersection Co Hwys 24 and 67: 11115 US Highway 24, Divide, CO 80814-9241) And yes, there will be Guinness.
view from Wilkerson Pass
Back home to get the house organized and ourselves packed for the upcoming trip, we were really happy to have a big slow cooker bubbling away happily making the house smell so awfully good for the first presidential debate. Isn’t that what a slow cookers are good for? Making the debate aromatic and palatable? Try this:
SLOW COOKER PUMPKIN-BLACK BEAN CHILI
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds ground turkey or ground turkey with Italian seasonings
- Kosher salt, Fresh ground pepper
- Crushed red pepper
- 2 each, chopped: stalks celery*, medium onions, red bell peppers, cloves garlic
- 2 28-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste*
- 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 4 tablespoons Penzey’s Chili 3000 Chili Seasoning-a bit spicy- or your own favorite chili powder to taste, especially if you want less heat or to add your own
- 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard* or 1 tablespoon American regular yellow mustard*
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried dill weed*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin*
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup white wine* — can sub chicken broth or water
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 15-ounce no-salt black beans,: rinsed and drained
Optional toppings–any or all: chopped cilantro, grated cheese, tortilla chips or Fritos, chopped avocados, chopped green or red onions, or sour cream/plain yogurt
*STARRED ITEMS are ones you might choose to leave out with little harm if you don’t happen to have them on hand.
Heat a large deep skillet with oil over medium flame for one minute; add turkey and cook, stirring, until browned and cooked through with no pink showing. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper or more to taste.
Add seasoned turkey and all other ingredients to slow cooker; stir well. Set to cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Stir, taste, and adjust seasonings. Serve hot topped with your choice of toppings and, if you like, my cornbread (below.)
ALYCE’S GREEN ONION CORNBREAD:
makes one 9-inch cast iron pan (can use 9″ baking pan)
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided (1/4 cup for batter and 1 tablespoon to grease pan)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon finely minced green onion or to taste (white and green parts)
- 1 1/4 cups white or yellow stoneground cornmeal
- 3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose white flour
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 Celsius). Place rack at center.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave and set aside to cool.
- Heat a 9″ cast iron skillet (23 Le Creuset) on the stove top over low flame with the tablespoon of remaining butter. (If using a baking pan, simply grease the pan.) Tilt and tip skillet from side to side to coat the entire pan with a film of butter. Remove from heat if butter begins to burn.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, green onion, and reserved melted and cooled butter. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix well the dry ingredients (cornmeal – pepper). Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and mix until just barely combined.
- Pour batter into hot skillet or greased pan. I let the pan sit there a minute or two. Using hot pad for skillet, carefully move skillet to oven center rack.
- Bake about 20 minutes or until bread is just golden brown with crispy edges and a toothpick inserted at center comes out clean. Do not over bake. Serve hot with honey and butter or plain. Wrap leftovers carefully and store at room temperature for one-two days or up to one week in the refrigerator. Slice, butter, and broil leftover slices. (Also good cold crumbled in milk for breakfast or a late-night snack.)
MORE CHILIES FOR YOU from more time at the table:
Want Vegan Chili? Try my favorite Cocoa-Chickpea Chili–Lusty Vegan Fare!
or my Updated College Chili Frito Casserole to take you back to your dorm or any other favorite old school cafeteria:
or even my 3-Bean Chicken Chili:
Sing a new song; make a new chili with love and share it if you can,