While you're out buying your Halloween supplies over the next couple of weeks, it might be worth giving those little pie pumpkins in the produce aisle a second look.
Sure, you can use them to make adorable mini jack-o-lanterns or pumpkin pie (as might be obvious from the name), but why not try something new and make a delicious vegetarian chili instead? It comes together in a jiffy, so you can still have plenty of time for ghost hunting, pumpkin carving, chocolate eating, trick or treating, or any other ghoulish activities you have in planned for All Hallows Eve.
The inspiration for this dish came from this month's Royal Foodie Joust, run by the Leftover Queen. The rules are simple... each month, food bloggers are given three ingredients as a starting point and are dispatched to their kitchens to come up the most creative and delicious dish they can think of using those ingredients. For October, the challenge was to make a black and orange Halloween dish using pumpkin, dark beer and sugar.
Since it's been a chilly fall thus far, it only seemed appropriate to make a fall chili using the challenge ingredients... and boy oh boy, this one's a winner (or so says The Boy). It's sweet, smoky, spicy and soothing, and it's as far from pie as pumpkin can get.
Note that the recipe calls for two chipotle peppers, because we loves us a spicy chili... however, if you prefer to walk on the mild side, feel free to go with just one pepper (or even one half). Meat eaters can also boost the smokiness by adding chopped bacon to the pot along with the onions.
Can't find pumpkin? Butternut or acorn squash makes a perfect substitute.
Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili
1 small pie pumpkin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 oz) plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cans (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bottle (300 ml) stout (such as Guinness or Dragon)
2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp each cinnamon and oregano
2 chipotle peppers, finely minced (that's two *individual* peppers, not cans)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
To make the pumpkin easier to cut, pierce with a fork a few times and microwave on high for 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
Once pumpkin is cool enough to handle, cut in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds (or save them to make toasted pepitas), then cut each half into six wedges. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the peel from each wedge, then chop into ½" cubes.
Pour the olive oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and squash, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until onion is golden. Stir in tomatoes, beans, beer, brown sugar, spices and chipotle peppers.
Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Stir in red pepper and corn, and continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes or until corn is bright yellow and peppers are soft.
Serve piping hot with your favourite chili garnishings - grated cheddar, sour cream, chopped cilantro, green onions or all of the above (which is my personal preference).
I'm so happy to have stumbled upon this recipe. I have been on the search for a while now trying to find a good blackbean chilli recipe. Yeayeee...my search has come to an end. I'm gonna give this one a go at the weekend. Will post it on my blog. Feel free to stop by to see how it turned out....yummmm....
Thanks for the heads up, Kurt. It's easy to forget that my readers may not always be as familiar with an ingredient as I am, and that too much information is probably better than not enough.
I'm so very sorry about the chipotle confusion, and I'm glad to hear that you liked it despite everything. I'll update the recipe shortly to make sure no one ends up with the same tale of woe.
(BTW, major props to you for trying out a new recipe for a dinner party... I'm glad to hear I'm not the only person out there that's crazy enough use my dinner guests as guinea pigs for new dishes.)
We made this over the weekend and, by misreading the ingredients, almost wiped out an entire dinner party. Way too easy to read "cans of chipotle peppers" instead of "2 canned chipotle peppers" (along with the other "cans of" ingredients. We realized our error fast and managed to cut the heat down to just under inhuman in time for dinner. Otherwise, it was very tasty and we're going try it again. Be nice to the harried cook, though, and when the ingredient has a huge impact on the flavor or heat, don't be shy about adding a note or placing the food container adjective ("canned") after the ingredient noun where it's more likely to be noticed. (The cut down version, cold, was also very tasty in the next day's lunch.)
Kurt, I made the exact same mistake you made when I first tried this recipe. I had never worked with chipotle before. I had to make a second batch without and mix them together to mitigate the heat. I'm so glad I did because I've been making it every fall/winter since. I've never tried the pumpkin, I just use a butternut squash. Initially I couldn't imagine why you'd add the cheese, sour cream etc but man, I sure do now. This is a hit every time I make it. Love it!!!
Isabelle Boucher says
Those chipotles sure are sneaky, aren't they! I have a pretty high tolerance for spice, but I know it's not for everyone. I'm glad you've tweaked this recipe to suit your tastes, Kathleen... butternut squash is a perfect substitute for pumpkin!
Never heard of pumpkin in chili! Must give it a try. Thank you!
JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says
This looks delicious! I love the combination of black beans and pumpkin or winter squash, so this chili sounds so amazing! Thanks so much for joining us in the Joust this month!
This sounds delicious and looks awesome too! I have never cooked with pumpkin (other than from a can) so I think I might make this my fisrt attempt.
Sounds delicious and healthy too. Adding this to my list of winter soups and stews.
5 Star Foodie says
Awesome Royal Joust entry, the chili looks delicious!
This sounds like a delicious chili! I love chipotle with pumpkin or squash, and the black beans and corn sound great here too.
I've done a Squash, Chicken and Black bean stew in previous years with a huge amount of success. This sounds very similar, and delicious.
Genny G. says
But I do not know whether children would be happy...