Delicious and filling, our favorite autumn squash adds richness and body to healthy turkey pumpkin chili.
It’s pumpkin season (and pumpkin spice overload season), but I’ve done surprisingly little baking. Zero baking, actually, unless you count the icky packaged cornbread mix I used to serve with today’s turkey pumpkin chili. (Tip: don’t bother with a mix – not to be all homesteady or anything, but homemade cornbread is easy enough to make; you don’t need a gross mix. But I digress.)
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I just haven’t been feelin’ the baking vibes, but I *have* been feeling all the cozy fall pumpkin feels.
And then three times in one day, pumpkin chili recipes landed in my social media feeds.
I had to try it.
I went with a recipe from Honestcooking.com, and tweaked the ingredients and cooking technique to maximize all the spicy flavors for my turkey pumpkin chili. I was sort of side-eye skeptical about the pureed pumpkin, right up until I added it to the pot, when it all came together and made sense. The pumpkin adds amazing texture — something that’s often missing in turkey chili — plus a touch of sweetness that’s not at all cloying.
I used canned pumpkin, but you can absolutely roast a pie pumpkin yourself and scrape out the flesh (and we might have to, if Libby’s projected shortage comes to pass). I also think that most any roasted winter squash — butternut, kabocha, acorn — will substitute just fine.
This healthy and flavorful turkey pumpkin chili will be in regular rotation this fall and winter — the spice palate and texture is wonderful, and it’s exactly the kind of comforting meal you want to hover over when the weather turns chilly.
- 2 tablespoons olive coconut, or avocado oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion diced
- 1 red or orange bell pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 4 links chicken or turkey breakfast sausage sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika pimenton
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 ounces pumpkin beer
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 14 ounce can pumpkin puree not pie filling
- 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can great northern or cannellini beans
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon your favorite barbecue sauce
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- sour cream
- grated cheddar cheese
- sliced green onions
- tortilla strips
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 4 or 5 quart stock pot or dutch oven over medium until shimmering. Add the onions and peppers and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl or plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot and let heat for a few seconds. Add the ground turkey and sausage and cook until the turkey is browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off most of the liquid, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pot. Return the vegetables to the pot.
Scootch the meat and vegetables to one side, and let the liquid pool on the cleared side (or, add a glug of oil to the cleared side). Pour the chili powder, paprika, and cumin onto the liquid/oil, and stir to create a paste. When fragrant, mix into the meat and vegetables.
Increase heat to medium-high, add the pumpkin beer, and saute until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the chicken stock, pumpkin puree, tomatoes, beans, oregano/marjoram, sugar, and barbecue sauce. Stir well to combine and let the mixture come to a gentle bubbling.
Reduce heat to maintain a simmer - bubbles should break on the surface without sputtering - cover partially, and let cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
To serve, ladle into roomy bowls and top with sour cream, cheese, green onions, and tortilla strips.