Pumpkin Chili

I am a million miles away from where I grew up and yet produce seems to come in the same seasons.

Berries come in the summer, lots of citrus in the winter and pumpkins in the fall.

I do love pumpkins.

But here there are no patches to visit and no grocery stores with bins and bins full of them. We are lucky to see a few scattered across the city at various produce stands.

There is one stand in the bazaar though that fills up every fall – I think he may even grow them himself. He also sells them at such a great price that I try to buy one every time I go. Lately these trips are rare and often mean carrying a baby on my chest, so I’ve only gotten a few this season.

But the first year we were here I was at the bazaar constantly –  needing things for the new house or just needing something to do. I probably went three times some weeks – and I would buy a pumpkin every time.

I began to get a reputation.

I’m not sure what is thought about girls who buy lots and lots of pumpkin, probably nothing. Maybe they thought I wanted to marry the pumpkin man. Whatever they were thinking, I am sure they were wondering what on earth I was doing with all of these squash.

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Well, I was roasting them, stewing them, baking them into pies, carving them into jack-o-lanters and toasting lots of pumpkin seeds! And of course, saving extra puree in the freezer to use once the pumpkins were gone. There are a million things to do with pumpkin puree!

My favorite thing to do with it is to make this Warm Winter Chili… but I digress.

The recipe I’m sharing today is a more traditional chili and it calls for roasting the pumpkin – this brings out the sweetness and browns the edges. Yum!

The pumpkin brings the sweet and the cayenne brings the heat. What a great mix! Sweet and spicy like this Thai Pumpkin Chili… but different.

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If you don’t want to bother roasting the pumpkin, you can skip that step and just boil it with the chili, but you will miss out on that extra sweetness.  

Also, before you go any further, know that this original recipe is at Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations. He uses bison and bacon and fresh jalapenos =P Unfortunately, I don’t have access to any of that so I had to simplify it a lot. If you have those things though (even just the bacon!), go and use his recipe, you will not be sorry. If not, here is the middle east approved version…

Pumpkin Chili
ingredients:
4 cups diced pumpkin
3 Tb coconut oil, melted
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs ground beef
2 lbs tomatoes, diced (or two 14 oz cans)
3 jalapenos, diced (or 10-15 slices from a jar, diced)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
How To:
1. Preheat oven to 400’F
2. Mix together pumpkin and 2 Tb oil in a baking dish. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until tender.
3. Heat remaining Tb oil in large pot, add onions and saute until tender. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, paprika and cayenne, stirring and cooking 2 minutes more.
4. Add ground beef to the onions and stir until brown and mostly done.
5. Add tomatoes and cover pot, allowing to simmer for 30-60 min, stirring occasionally.
6. Remove pumpkin from oven and stir into the chili. Serve topped with green onions, yogurt or cilantro.

Enjoy!

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