Pumpkin Spiced Chili
I had some leftover pumpkin when I made that Cinnamon Streusel Topped Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving but wanted to make something out of the ordinary, something with WOW factor and not just another cake or loaf...although that would have been delicious!!!!!What caught my eye was a Pumpkin Spiced Chili I found in a newsletter I receive from Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado that lightens up a chili recipe by using ground turkey with the added bonus of pureed pumpkin and don't forget the chilies!!!! You never know some day I may just visit and enjoy some of their cooking classes while visiting friends in Denver. I have also followed their blog Amuse-Bouche for some time which has delicious recipes as well.
Once Thanksgiving has come and gone it is time to switch gears and bring out the warm sweaters, start a fire and begin to browse through my trusted cookbooks for comforting dishes to ward off any chill in the air. Living in Canada cold weather is an inevitable and unavoidable part of winter. Since I won't be moving to the Bahamas any time soon we have to think of ways to keep warm during the cold winter months and food usually plays a huge role. Chili is one of those comfort foods that are also quick and easy to prepare.
With Hallowe'en this coming weekend our minds have turned to witches and goblins. But, pumpkins are not just an icon of Hallowe'en and are very versatile. Like carrots, pumpkins are loaded with the antioxidant beta carotene as well as potassium and fiber. With only 49 calories per cup, this tasty squash is a great fit for a healthy diet. Not only does this recipe use the leftover canned pumpkin that has a low caloric intake but it has the added bonus of being made with ground turkey as well.
For baking purposes just be sure to use sugar pumpkins which are also called pie pumpkins or sweet pumpkin. They are smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous, which makes them a great choice for cooking. They belong to the winter squash family and are delicious prepared in similar ways to their veggie cousins. They are small and sweet, with dark orange-coloured flesh that are perfect for pies, soups, muffins and breads. Choose smooth, deep-orange pumpkins that are heavy for their size, without cracks or soft spots. They can be stored in the pantry for up to one month. These fresh pumpkins can be peeled, seeded and diced, then used just as you would other winter squashes such as acorn or butternut. Unlike these deeply ridged, hard squash line the acorn, smooth sugar pumpkins are easy to prepare. Cut off the top and bottom ends, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. For tougher skin, make a few more passes with the peeler.
They can be cooked and pureed for a mashed-type side, or processed further to become the base of a velvety, low-fat soup. Just like it's squash cousin, pumpkin can be roasted, which will bring out its natural sweetness and will enhance its deep, earthy flavors. Their solid texture turns creamy with roasting, steaming, sautéing, or pureeing. Their sweet-savory flavour works as well with sweet ingredients (like honey, maple, brown sugar, and molasses) as it does with savoury ones (like dried crushed red pepper, salty cheeses, and wild mushrooms). Assertive herbs such as cilantro, rosemary, and sage are wonderful with sugar pumpkin. As you'd expect, so are baking spices like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible including the fleshy shell, the seeds and the flowers so nothing will go to waste with a little ingenuity.
Although most people use store-bought canned pumpkin, homemade pumpkin purée can serve the same purpose. A medium-sized (4 pound) sugar pumpkin should yield around 1-1/2 cups of mashed pumpkin. To make your own puree follow one of 3 easy methods. This puree can be used in all of your recipes calling for canned pumpkin.
Avoid field pumpkins, which are bred for perfect jack o' lanterns but tend to be too large and stringy for baking. They were developed specifically to be oversized and thin-walled, with a huge seed pocket and a relatively small proportion of flesh. Jack-o'-lanterns are safe to eat, but for baking purposes their stringy texture doesn't make the silkiest purée. They're best suited for decoration, festive containers for soups or stews or plain old-fashioned chucking and just won't taste good!!!!
While you can certainly make pumpkin desserts and dishes with fresh pumpkin, canned pureed pumpkin that you can purchase at the grocery store can be more consistent as well as convenient. Don't confuse canned pureed pumpkin with the already sweetened and spiced "pie mix."Canned pumpkin puree worked really well in the chili recipe below. Quite often canned pumpkin comes in large cans so use those leftovers.
What better way to welcome cooler weather with a gourmet twist on an autumn comfort classic...CHILI!!!!!!! You can also heat things up by adding some extra chilies!!!!!!!
**Pumpkin Spiced Chili**
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1 tablespoon oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ green bell pepper, chopped
½ yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can red kidney beans
2 cups (1 14.5 ounce can) pumpkin puree
1 ½ tablespoons medium chili powder
½ tablespoon cumin
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste (at least 3 good shakes) or 1 Tbsp Siracha sauce
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream
Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Sauté the onion, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic until tender, about 10 minutes. Make room in the center of the skillet, add turkey and brown about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and pumpkin. Season with chili powder, cumin, pepper, salt, and cayenne or Siracha sauce.
Reduce heat and simmer at least 20 minutes.
To garnish, serve each bowl of chili topped with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with cilantro.
Serves 4 -6
If you are "nesting" and need more comforting dishes you may enjoy:
Eat-the-Bowl Mole Chili
Alton Brown Slow Cooker Chili
Chili con Carne with Chili Cheddar Shortcakes Gourmet :(
Pierce Street Vegetarian Chili Recipe 101 Cookbooks
Beef & Three Bean Chili Pinch My Salt
The Obama Family Chili Recipe
Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots and Sage
Rigatoni with Roasted Pumpkin and Goat Cheese
Pumpkin and Pecorino Gratin