Heeelllooooooo Fall! Ok I know it has technically been Fall for over a month now. But here in Chicago, the weather finally cooled off, so it actually feels like Fall. I packed away all of my summer dresses and sandals, and replaced them with my big cozy sweaters and fall boots. Cool weather also means I can start making those favorite fall comfort foods, like chili, soups, and stews.
The first thing to make on my list was chili. There is something so warm and comforting about chili. It hearty, rich, and delicious. It’s loaded with meat, beans, warm spices, and your choice of veggies. Like a big bear hug in a bowl.
It is also a low maintenance meal. You throw all of the ingredients in a pot, and let it simmer away, letting the delicious aromas fill your home, only needing to check on it from time to time. It is the perfect dish to make for a potluck or tailgating. Or as I did it, on a lazy Sunday watching movies on the couch.
But I had a crazy idea to revamp this classic fall dish…..why not combine it with another classic Fall flavor – pumpkin!
That’s right! Pumpkin and fall spices are incorporated into this unique chili. And it totally works!! In fact, it is a match made in heaven. The pumpkin adds a sweet nutty flavor to the chili. It also makes the chili creamy and velvety. Not to mention that pumpkin is packed with vitamin A and fiber, so it provides some nutrients to the chili. The fall spices, cinnamon and clove, pair wonderfully with the cumin and chili powder. All have a similar flavor profile: nutty, earthy, and spicy. It packs the chili with more flavor and heart warming goodness.
Pumpkin + chili = <3
Pumpkin is usually associated with sweet dishes, such as pies, cakes, cookies, and brownies. But it actually works very well in savory dishes too! Pumpkin on its own is not overly sweet. It actually has an earthy, rich flavor that is well suited for savory dishes. You will be surprised where you can unexpectedly incorporate pumpkin. Like this delicious pumpkin chili recipe.
So let’s get to cooking!
All the flavors pair well together and remind me of fall: I used ground turkey as the meat; black beans for my beans; onions, red peppers, and butternut squash for my veggies; and cumin, chili powder, garlic cinnamon, allspice, and cloves for my spices. Oh and there is pumpkin beer in here too….so it has to be good! 🙂
The first step is to brown your meat. You can brown it in a skillet or in the pot you are going to use for the chili. You want to brown your meat before because it will add extra flavor to the ground turkey and make sure it is fully cooked in the chili. Once the turkey is fully cooked, salt and pepper it and set aside.
Next, you are going to heat up oil in the chili pot and add in the onions and garlic. You want to cook until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are translucent. Then add in the red peppers and cook until the are slightly tender (2-3 minutes). Add in all those warm, nutty spices. I like to add them before the liquid so they can slightly toast in the pan, which brings out more of their flavors.
Now comes the fun part: deglazing the pan with pumpkin beer! Do not be intimidated by this culinary term. You probably deglaze all the time and just didn’t realize you were doing it. Deglazing simply means adding liquid, such as a stock, wine, or beer, to a pan to loosen the brown bits stuck on the bottom, which helps add flavor to your dish. If you look to the bottom of your chili pot, you will see brown bits on the bottom, which is caramelization from the cooked veggies. We do not want that to go to waste, so we add the pumpkin beer to the pot as it will loosen the brown bits and add all that flavor to our chili!
The labor intensive part of the chili making process is complete. Now you just need to add the remaining ingredients, crushed/diced tomatoes, pumpkin, Worcester, maple, drained black beans, and butternut squash, and let the chili simmer away until the butternut squash is fork tender. That is the beauty of chili; you do a little work upfront and then the rest is smooth sailing. You just need to let it simmer away on the stove, filling your home with the delicious aromas of spices and goodness, and do whatever else you please. At the point, I was wrapped up in a blanket on my couch watching movies on Netflix (enjoying a nice laazzzyyyy Sunday!)
By the time my movie was over, the chili was done! I got a big bowl of it and topped with Greek yogurt, cheese, and chives. And then started another movie 🙂
It was heavenly! Warm, rich, sweet, and spicy. There are so many different textures from the veggies, ground turkey, and beans, It goes great with a side of toasty bread to soak up all the delicious chili goodness. The perfect Fall comfort meal. I hope you love it too!
Pumpkin Spice Chili
- 1 T oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 T chili powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp all spice
- ¼ tsp clove
- 1 T Worchester
- 1 T salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1-pound ground turkey
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 28 oz can diced or crushes tomatoes
- 1 small butternut sqush cubed
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin
- 2 tsp maple
- In a skillet, cook the ground turkey (you want it to develop a nice brown color for some flavor)
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot.
- Add in onions and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant and onion becomes translucent.
- Add red peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add in spices and stir until all the veggies are coated.
- Deglaze pan with the pumpkin beer. (deglaze is when you add liquid to a pan to loosen the brown bits stuck on the bottom, which helps add flavor to your chili).
- Add in remaining ingredients and stir until well-combined.
- Simmer on low for about 2 hours or until butternut squash is fork tender.
- Serve and enjoy!