Pumpkin Chili Recipe

Pumpkin is my favorite time of year. There's just something about the spicy sweetness that I can't get enough of. It smells and tastes of fall, even when fall seems nowhere to be found in Southern California. Every October, I race to the store and stock up on all the best pumpkin goodies: pumpkin spice lattes; pumpkin scones; pumpkin pancake mix from Trader Joe's; and my latest favorite -- pumpkin chili.

While it may not be possible to buy pumpkin chili, you can certainly make it yourself, and it's quite cheap and simple. I used my mom's chili recipe, added a few extra seasonings (cinnamon and oregano), and substituted canned pumpkin in place of the tomato sauce and tomato paste. The result is a creamier chili dish with a burst of cinnamon mixed into the spicy aftertaste. If you've only ever used pumpkin in sweet baked goods, then I urge you to try this savory recipe. I have a feeling it will be a new fall favorite :)

Pumpkin Chili

1 1/4 lb. ground turkey
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
15 oz can stewed tomatoes (reduced sodium)
15 oz can pumpkin, plus another 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
15 oz canned pinto beans (reduced sodium)
15 oz canned, dark kidney beans (reduced sodium)
15 oz canned corn, drained (reduced sodium)
1 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
3 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
crushed black pepper, to taste
a few pinches kosher salt, to taste

In a large pot, brown the ground turkey until it is fully cooked, then drain off any excess fat. Transfer the cooked turkey to a plate, then place the empty pot back on the stove. Add the olive oil and use it to saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic.

Dump the turkey back into the pot, and then add all the canned items along with their juices. The only can that gets drained is the corn. Next, add all the seasonings and stir everything together. Reduce the heat to Low and allow the chili to simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring every 15 minutes, or so.

You will likely have lots of leftovers, and will find that the chili tastes even better the next day.
If you want some cornbread to go along with it, I love Marie Callender's Original mix. All you have to do is add water, and it comes out great!