Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili
Serve with arugula, grape and sunflower seed salad, skillet cornbread- Maria A. from Merrimac, Massachusetts forwarded her pumpkin chili recipe to me a few years ago. It is a huge hit with her family and friends, an often requested dish during the long, cold months in Boston. I first made it for my book club and we all loved it. My friends were quite surprised to learn the chili included pumpkin. The original recipe called for ground turkey, but this version is vegetarian. An iron skillet cornbread and a crispy salad are the perfect sides.
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    • 1tablepoon olive or canola oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (like Libby’s)
    • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
    • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
    • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
    • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
    • 1 frozen sweet corn
    • 1/2tablespoon chili powder
    • 1teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2teaspoon ground black pepper
    • shredded Monterey jack cheese, optional condiment
    • plain Greek yogurt, optional condiment
    • 1/4cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 2 1/2tablespoon maple syrup
    • 2tablespoon chives, chopped
    • 2teaspoon stone ground mustard
    • 1 bag of baby arugula
    • 1 1/2cup red grapes, halved
    • 2tablespoons sunflower seed kernels
    1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Add the tomatoes with juice and the next 10 ingredients (through black pepper). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes. Provide at the table the shredded cheese, yogurt, and hot sauce for individual tastes, if using.
    2. While chili cooks make the salad: whisk olive oil with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, lemon juice and the next 3 ingredients (thought mustard) in a small bowl. Place arugula in a salad bowl, top with the grapes and sunflower seeds. Serve with lemon maple vinaigrette (reserve any extra dressing for another time).
    Recipe Notes

    If you'd like to make a skillet cornbread here are the ingredients and directions. Preheat oven and make the cornbread first to let it bake while you make the chili and salad.

    1 ¼ cups yellow cornmeal (organic and stone ground, if possible)
    1 ¼ cups unbleached white or spelt flour
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    2-2 ½ tablespoons brown sugar or agave syrup
    1 ½ cups 2% or whole milk
    1 large egg
    2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil, plus a little extra for oiling the skillet
    1 cup frozen sweet corn

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a cast-iron skillet with a little canola or coconut oil. Heat it in the oven while you mix the cornbread batter.

    Prepare batter by combining the cornmeal through the next 6 ingredients in a large bowl, careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the corn. Spoon batter into the cast-iron skillet (the batter will sizzle). Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is light-brown and springs back upon touch. NOTE: if you do not have a cast-iron skillet, you may substitute a 9X9 baking pan. Just be sure to lightly oil the bottom of the pan.

    Spoon batter into the hot cast iron skillet. Batter should sizzle when it contacts the skillet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cornbread is light brown on top and springs back upon touch. Cut into wedges and cover to keep warm.

    Add some chopped jalapeño and/or chopped red pepper to the cornbread for additional color and zest.

    You could add a pound of ground turkey, diced lean pork chops or ground beef to the chili satisfy the carnivores.

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