It’s Fall time and people are coming indoors and gathering at each other’s homes. I have found that serving something that warms one’s belly to be the perfect way to warm their heart. Pumpkin chili is on the menu this year! This is friendly for all. It is vegetarian, gluten-free, and little one approved. If you aren’t vegetarian I recommend a little crumble of bacon over the top to serve. This dish serves 8-10 people with very generous portions.
- 1 (3-pound) pie pumpkin, or other orange-fleshed squash such as butternut or acorn.
- 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup finely ground cornmeal
- 2 medium turnips, diced
- 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 (10-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 2 (16-ounce) cans chili beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian type)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Balsamic vinegar
- Green onions, chopped
- Cheddar cheese, shredded
- Sour cream
Peel and cut into 1-inch pieces the pumpkin or squash. To make it easier to peel the pumpkin, cut in half, remove the seeds and set aside for roasting. Microwave each half cut-side down in a shallow baking dish of water for about 5 minutes, or you can roast the halves at 450 for about 15 minutes. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, shave off the skin with a sharp knife or peeler.
In a 6-quart or large Dutch oven or soup pot (I prefer the Dutch oven), heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the cornmeal until smooth, then stir in the pumpkin, turnip, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
Add the broth, diced tomatoes, and their juices, beans, and corn. Stir in the chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the pumpkin and turnip is tender. The longer you simmer the better – believe me!
Before serving, taste and season with salt and pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Serve hot with the chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream if desired.
This will store nicely too. Just freeze!