Tuesday, October 30, 2012


A bright and colorful chili, the pumpkin adds lots of vitamins and minerals to the meal.  It also smooths out the acidic taste of the tomatoes and the bite of the chiles

Don't just pass over this recipe because of the pumpkin.  This fun and delicious chili with pumpkin in it comes from my high school friend,  Sandy Postema.  She handed out the recipe at our monthly laugh and eat Tuesday at St. George's in Grand Rapids because the chili had won first place at her office chili cooking contest.  When I looked at the recipe, my first thought was what a wonderful way to get extra nutrition into reluctant eaters be they children or adults.  Pumpkin is filled with vitamins, specially A, minerals, and it is low in calories.

A "Bowl of Red" as chili is called in Texas is a very American dish.  Looking at the ingredients in this chili made me think of it as a "Bowl of  the Ancient Americas."  Turkey, pumpkins, tomatoes, corn, beans, and peppers are all foods originally from the American continents.


My Mom put canned tomato soup into her chili to cut the sharpness of the acidic tomatoes and smooth out the flavor.  The pumpkin in this recipe does the same thing that my Mom's tomato soup did.  I added honey to the list of ingredients as I thought I would need it to cut any acidic tang.  However, I didn't need it.  Depending on your taste, don't forget it cuts the acidic sharpness and smooths out any chile pepper heat.

Michigan Cottage Cook's Pumpkin Chili with lettuce, cheese and avocado garnish.

Sandy Postema's Pumpkin Chili calls for a half tablespoon of cumin.  I think that is much too much.  The chefs on TV add cumin by the palmful which has lead non-Mexican restaurants to do so too.  The Mexican restaurants in the Chicago-area's food does not scream "cumin."  Cumin is a very strong spice.  It adds a lovely bass note to a dish as long as it is not over used.  When I did commercial cooking, my assistants would complain about the smell of "old gym socks" when I was adding the cumin to a big steam kettle of taco filling.  I added a half to three-quarters teaspoon cumin to the Michigan Cottage Cook version of Pumpkin Chili.

Bowl of the Ancient Americas.

Sandy Pumpkin Chili

1 lb ground turkey
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 c onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans tomatoes, undrained
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
1/2 c frozen corn
1 (15oz) can pumpkin, 2 cups
1 1/2 T chili powder
1/2 T cumin
3/4 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
Garnishes:  Sour cream cheese, cilantro or whatever toppings you desire

Brown ground turkey until cooked through.  Add turkey to your crockpot, along with all other ingredients.  Stir well.  Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.  Serve with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, or whatever toppings you desire.

One of my favorite chiles is the Pablano seen in the top basket.  To learn how to char and peel them, check out:

MICHIGAN COTTAGE COOK PUMPKIN CHILI  I didn't want to just post a recipe without making it my own.  I used beef, RoTel Tomatoes with Chilies, and a Poblano pepper instead of just tomatoes and a green bell pepper.  Here is my version of Sandy's Pumpkin Chili.

1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 Poblano chile, charred, peeled, and chopped
1 (28oz) can Ro*Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green chilies, undrained
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz) can kidney beans
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
1/2 c frozen corn or more
1 (15oz) can pumpkin, 2 cups
1 1/2 T chili powder or to taste, I used a little more
Salt and black pepper to taste
Garnishes, if desired:  Tortilla chips, shredded cheese, avocado, green onions, shredded lettuce, or garnishes of your choice

Ingredients:  Ground beef, canned pumpkin, Ro*Tel Tomatoes and Chilies, black beans, red kidney beans, green chilies, frozen corn, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, Poblano pepper, salt and pepper, to taste.  Honey, to taste.

 In a large skillet, brown ground beef.  Drain.  To the same skillet in which beef was browned, add onions and garlic.  Add a little water to remove browned flavor from the bottom of skillet.  Stir and cook onions until limp.  Add to crockpot.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot.  Mix gently.  Cook on HIGH for 1 hour.  Reduce to LOW, and cook for 6 to 8 hours.  Serve and garnish if desired.

Dice onion and mince garlic.  I used two onions as this onion was too small.

Brown ground beef and drain.  Add onions and garlic, saute until limp.  Add mixture to crockpot.

Drain and rinse black beans.

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot, seasoning to taste.
Gently stir to mix ingredients.  Cook on HIGH for 1 hour.  Lower heat to LOW and cook for 6 to 8 hours.
Serve and garnish if desired.

If I was creative, I would have made a pumpkin face out of cheese and put it on the chili.

Garnished with chips and cheese is fantastic.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!


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