New and Improved: Pumpkin Chili Recipe

>> Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thanks for all your comments and emails -- your help -- with recovering my beloved pumpkin chili recipe from my old site. I had no idea I could get it back! The photos I originally took of the pot were dark and fuzzy. Muddled, even. So, I set out to make a fresh batch to fill my stomach and to photograph in daylight . . . and I even tweaked the recipe a bit.

No. I didn't take the pumpkin puree out. I'm planning to use the orange stuff till even I'm sick of it. (Which I highly doubt will happen anytime soon. Or ever.)

Some of you will be happy to learn that this new, improved pumpkin chili doesn't have beer in it. I received several requests on the old site to take it out. I tried it instead with vegetable broth to see flavor was still alright. It's more than alright. It's overwhelmingly delicious. (Though, you beer lovers can easily substitute back in your favorite fall brew). Oh, yeah. And I used smoked paprika for extra flair (well worth it!).


What you'll need . . .
  • 1 medium to large cooking onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cans (or one large can) of dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 can of low-sodium corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, keep the juice
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (or beer of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (or regular)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 to 15 sage leaves (optional)

Method . . .
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onions and garlic. Cook until onions are tender.
  2. Pour in the pumpkin puree and vegetable broth (or beer). Mix. Pour in the can of whole tomatoes (with the juice). Mix again.
  3. Then add the kidney beans and corn kernels. Season with the paprika, black pepper, and salt.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. You'll want to use a spatula or mixing spoon to crush the whole tomatoes a bit. Keep them chunky, but try to crush each one a couple times to distribute evenly.
  5. Then lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes. Again, stir occasionally.
  6. Add in the sage leaves (I rubbed mine a bit with my fingers to get the flavor out before dropping into the pot). Cook at a low simmer for another 15 minutes.

Verdict on the new version? Better than the original. Of course, my cooking is constantly evolving and improving, so I expected it to get at least somewhat better. I think the specific attention to the seasonings helped out quite a bit. If you can't find smoked paprika (we bought ours at TJ Max of all places), use regular. But I think I've seen smoke flavor powder at the store. Perhaps a dash of that would suffice.

We like our chili served with cheese cubes inside. The applewood smoked cheddar worked wonderfully and added even MORE of that smokey flavor. A unique bowl of chili, indeed!

How do you personalize your cooking and baking? Do you find yourself tinkering with a specific recipe from year to year -- trying to make it better each time? Or do you hold on to those family recipes and make them exactly as they've been made for generations? We don't have many family recipes, so we're assembling our own recipe box. We'd love to hear about your process!

Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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