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Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

I love a bowl of chili, especially on a cold fall or winter day.  I also like the chili to have lots of texture and flavour and to be well-filled, hearty, and not be too watery.  This recipe for Chicken and Pumpkin Chili has a lovely flavour profile owing to the selection of ingredients and a curated blend of spices to complement the core ingredients.

Chili
Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

Chili, with its Mexican influences, is essentially made of three basic ingredients – a protein, vegetables that typically include tomatoes and beans in addition to aromatics like onions, celery, and carrots and, of course, spices. What the cook does from there is basically the cook’s preferences and prerogative.

In this recipe for Chicken and Pumpkin Chili, I am using ground chicken (though you could use ground turkey) and sausage meat as the protein base. Tomatoes, both tomato paste and tomato sauce, and red kidney beans are used to give the chili its hearty base.  I am, however, adding a few different ingredients that one might not necessarily think of as typical chili ingredients.

The first is pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling which is something entirely different).  Not only does the pumpkin purée add a lovely subtle layer of flavour but it enhances the chili’s texture.  I also add a half cup of dry red wine and a tablespoon of cocoa, both of which will add depth and richness of flavour to the chili.  The cocoa will counteract fat from the meat and will help to balance out the typical flavours of the chili such as saltiness and sweetness from the other ingredients. It will also intensify the flavours and offer a more dimensional flavour profile in the chili as opposed to a one-dimensional taste.

Chili
Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

I don’t care for the chili to be too spicy so I tend to go light on the chili powder.  However, if you like the chili a bit more spicy, by all means, increase the amount of chili powder called for in the recipe. The other spices I add are small amounts of oregano, basil, cumin, cayenne, and pumpkin pie spice which is a nod to the addition of the pumpkin purée. The addition of oregano and basil will provide some herbal notes while the cumin will offer some smoky undertones and the cayenne a bit of heat to go along with the chili powder.

Make sure the spices get added to the mixture before the liquids because they will have a chance to coat the ingredients and will release their flavours better than adding them after the liquids have been added.  At that point, all the spices do is float around in the liquid and their flavours won’t be as intense.

Chili
Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

This Chicken and Pumpkin Chili can be served plain or with a dollop of sour cream, some shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions.  It is also good served with tortilla chips.  The chili freezes very well and may be reheated in the microwave.

This Chicken and Pumpkin Chili is also great for taking along to potlucks or any casual get-togethers.

Chili
Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

 

[Printable Recipe Follows at End of Post]

Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients:

1 tbsp oil
8 oz/225g ground chicken
4 oz/113g sausage meat, removed from casing

1 – 1½ tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter

½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz/113g button mushrooms, quartered or sliced

1½ – 2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp basil
¼ – ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt
Pepper, to taste
½ tbsp cocoa

1 cup chicken or turkey stock (or 3 tsp liquid chicken bouillon mixed in 1 cup boiling water)
½ cup dry red wine
1 – 19 oz/540ml can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
1 bay leaf

1 – 14 oz/398ml can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Method:

Heat oil in skillet.  Crumble the ground chicken and sausage meat into the skillet.  Scramble fry meat until browned, about 5 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon or spatula. Drain and set meat aside.

Heat 1–1½ tbsp oil in heavy Dutch oven or medium-sized stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp butter.  Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, celery, and carrot.  Cook the aromatics for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion starts to become transparent.  Add the minced garlic and mushrooms.  Stir mixture briskly for 1-2 minutes longer, ensuring the garlic does not scorch.  Stir in the chili powder, spices, salt, pepper, and cocoa. Add the browned meat to the pot.

Add the chicken or turkey stock, red wine, diced tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, tomato sauce, pumpkin purée, and brown sugar or maple syrup to the meat mixture. Stir.  Add bay leaf.  Cover and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until chili thickens, about 45-50 minutes.  Add the drained and rinsed kidney beans.  Simmer, partially covered, for 10-15 minutes more, until beans are heated. Remove and discard bay leaf and ladle chili into bowls.  Top with a dollop of sour cream, green onions, and/or shredded cheese, if desired.  Served with artisan bread or rolls or tortilla chips. This chili freezes well in airtight containers.

Yield:  Approximately 6 servings

Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

This hearty chili is made with ground chicken, sausage meat, pumpkin purée, and a select blend of spices to create a flavorful one-pot meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 8 oz/225g ground chicken
  • 4 oz/113g sausage meat removed from casing
  • 1 – 1½ tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup onion chopped
  • ½ cup celery chopped
  • ½ cup carrot diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 oz/113g button mushrooms quartered or sliced
  • 1½ - 2 tsp chili powder or to taste
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ¼ - ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • ½ tbsp cocoa
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey stock or 3 tsp liquid chicken bouillon mixed in 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 – 19 oz/540ml can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup pumpkin purée not pie filling
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 – 14 oz/398ml can red kidney beans drained and rinsed

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in skillet. Crumble the ground chicken and sausage meat into the skillet. Scramble fry meat until browned, about 5 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon or spatula. Drain and set meat aside.
  2. Heat 1 – 1½ tbsp oil in heavy Dutch oven or medium-sized stock pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp butter. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook the aromatics for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion starts to become transparent. Add the minced garlic and mushrooms. Stir mixture briskly for 1-2 minutes longer, ensuring the garlic does not scorch. Stir in the chili powder, spices, salt, pepper, and cocoa. Add the browned meat to the pot.
  3. Add the chicken or turkey stock, red wine, diced tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, tomato sauce, pumpkin purée, and brown sugar or maple syrup to the meat mixture. Stir. Add bay leaf. Cover and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until chili thickens, about 45-50 minutes. Add the drained and rinsed kidney beans. Simmer, partially covered, for 10-15 minutes more, until beans are heated. Remove and discard bay leaf and ladle chili into bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream, green onions, and/or shredded cheese, if desired. Served with artisan bread or rolls or tortilla chips. This chili freezes well in airtight containers.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Approximately 6 servings

For my traditional Chili recipe, click here.

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Chili
Chicken and Pumpkin Chili