It's so delicious- just trust me on this one.
I think chili might just be the perfect food. It's full of fiber and protein and can be customized according to your tastes. It's also just about the best thing to enjoy on a cold evening (and the ultimate comfort food). I've been making this pumpkin chili for the last few years, and it's always a hit with everyone that I serve it to. The pumpkin kind of melts into the chili and the flavor pairs so beautifully with the spices. And, if pumpkin isn't your thing (gasp!), you can substitute any type of winter squash (butternut and acorn squash work really well).
I alternate how I cook this chili, depending on what else is going on the day that it's going to be served. The chili can be made just an hour ahead of time, if needed. You can also just throw all of the ingredients into a slow cooker and set it on low to cook away all day long. My favorite way to prepare this chili is in the directions below (which requires letting it simmer for a few hours). And- it's even better as leftovers the next day (and leftovers can be frozen to enjoy later!). So, you might want to think about making a little extra. ;)
Spicy Pumpkin Chili
2 TBSP olive oil, divided
1.5 cups diced onion
1.5 cups diced bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 lb. ground turkey*
1.5 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano ("regular" Italian oregano works too)
1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you would like)
1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 cups roasted pumpkin flesh, chopped into 3/4" cubes
salt, to taste
Heat 1 TBSP oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, and then add onion, pepper and garlic. Let cook until vegetables are slightly soft and transfer into a bowl. Pour remaining TBSP of oil into the skillet and add the ground turkey. Cook all the way through and remove from heat. Place a large pot over medium heat and transfer the turkey and vegetables/garlic into it. Stir in all spices and let cook for 5 minutes. Add in kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and pumpkin and stir well. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring often and adding in salt as needed. Reduce heat to low and cook (covered) for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes.
* You can substitute ground turkey for any other ground meat. Ground bison is a favorite of ours! Or, you can omit the meat all together to make the recipe vegetarian.
I recommend topping this chili with cheddar cheese and sour cream and serving cornbread along with it.