Monday, September 26, 2011

Things I put pumpkin in Vol. 2: The Chili Diary

Some recipes just drive me nuts.  More specifically, anything on the back of a box or can (stop trying to jam your crappy product in a once perfect recipe), anything that has even been glanced at by Saundra Lee (see anything on the back of a box or can), and about half of all chili recipes.  I know there are a billion different schools of chili-making out there.  Soupy, thick, with beans, without beans... I understand there are people out there who will get into fist fights over this sort of thing, but it's not an allegiance to certain type of chili that burns me.  I like all races of chili, as long as it's not a sad, 90% chance-of-making-it-to-the-pages-of-some-Midwestern-themed-magazine-with-a-stuffed-rabbit-and-a-quilt-on-the-cover soup that just calls itself "chili" because it's got beans in it.
photo © Curried Cabbage, 2011

Two nights ago, I got it in my head that pumpkin and chipotle peppers needed to exist, together, in my belly.  I've been making baked sweet potatoes with chili powder and chipotle peppers for years... and it just seemed right that pumpkin step up to the plate (bu-dum-ching) for this extra-festive pumpkin-obsessed time of year.  I thought about it for some time, wondering what to pair with the two, when I gave up and turned to the intertubes and the Google-machine to help me with my plans.

I came across the same chili recipe 10 or so times in my search for "Pumpkin Chipotle."  It was re-bloged by several people, never leaving credit for the person prior and almost never even bothering to rewrite the recipe... complete copy/paste job.  It was also pretty much the only recipe out there that included both pumpkin and chipotle in the title of the recipe. So, I set off to buy the ingredients. It was a place to start, right?

photo © Curried Cabbage, 2011
I was in the middle of the grocery store before I realized that there was no chipotle peppers in this Pumpkin Chipotle Chili.  In fact, there were no peppers of any kind, except for one sad can of green chilis, which as far as I'm concerned does not count.  I was dealing with a one hum-dinger of a stuffed rabbit/quilts/Midwestern-soccer-moms-with-easily-offended-taste-buds chili recipe.  And it was all over the internet... spreading like a disease.  A little extra time in the store, and I was able to put together a better recipe... one that didn't use the pumpkin as a filler (the original recipe proudly proclaims that, "You can't even tell the pumpkin is in there!"), and actually included its namesake pepper.  It's a little sweet, with a deep spice.  You can definitely tell there's pumpkin in there, and the smokey heat of the chipotle peppers pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the pumpkin.  I could definitely see using sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin in this recipe.  Also, if you felt like taking the time to roast and puree your own pumpkin - that could really set this one off the hook.

Pumpkin Chipotle Chili (Now with ACTUAL CHIPOTLE!)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 chipotle peppers, chopped fine (only take the seeds out if you hate heat)
1 tablespoon of adobo sauce reserved from chipotle peppers (the red stuff they're packed in)
1 lb ground turkey
1 large can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can pumpkin puree (not pie filling... just puree)
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 15oz can red kidney beans
1 15oz can black beans
1 4oz can diced green chilis
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon honey
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large soup pot on medium-high heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chipotle peppers and adobo.  Cook, stirring frequently, until tender.  Add the ground turkey and brown.

Add the canned tomatoes, pumpkin, tomato sauce, beans, green chilis, corn, chili powder, cumin and honey.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then drop to medium-low heat.  Simmer for 1 hour.  Serve in big bowls with croutons.


  1. I will be definitely making this. Just a quick question tho - recipe says 1 can of pumpkin - what size of can? (Up here in Canada, it's most common to find it in GIANT 796ml (28oz) cans...
    Thank you!

  2. A 15 ounce can. That's about 1 3/4 cups, if you need to get the ginormo can. You can save the rest in the freezer for later. :)