Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pumpkin Chili

For the past four year, I've been making this chili for our annual Fall Fest held every October. Just about everyone is afraid to try it when I tell them it's "pumpkin chili", but I'm telling ya, it's sooo good!

This is basically a simple beef chili with a little bit of added pumpkin puree and cinnamon for just a hint of sweetness. And the pumpkin turns it such a pretty, orange-y fall color. You can hardly taste the pumpkin and probably wouldn't even know it was in there. It's the kind of taste that makes you go hmm? But seriously, do not be afraid and please try this recipe!

Pumpkin Chili
Serves 10 or more

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups onions , chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans , drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes , with juice (my fave is Tuttorosso)
1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree (Tuttorosso)
1 can (15 oz.) or 2 cups 100% Pure Pumpkin
about 2 tablespoons kosher salt

1. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, red pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, oregano, brown sugar and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, pumpkin, and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened. Adjust seasonings/salt to personal taste if needed.

3. Slow Cooker Option: At the end of step 1, transfer the cooked beef mixture to a slow cooker; add the rest of the ingredients as directed in step 2. Cook the chili on the high setting for four hours.

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