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Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili

A rough version of this recipe has been sitting in my drafts folder for about 5 months or so, and I’m commending myself for holding back on making it until the weather took on a decidedly autumnal feel.

Pumpkin is typically reserved for sweet treats – such as baked goods, pies, cookies, and ice cream – but it can be a delicious addition to savory dishes as well.

In this chili, pumpkin puree lends more of a velvety texture and thick consistency than a strong flavor; yet the somewhat unique addition of ground cinnamon adds a touch of the warm spice flavor often associated with pumpkin.

Can’t find canned pumpkin puree where you live? As long as you can get your hands on sugar (also called “pie”) pumpkins, you can make a homemade version – which I think is highly superior both in flavor and texture.

Plus, check out that vibrant yellowy-orange color! Homemade pumpkin puree doesn’t have that dull brownish tinge that many canned varieties do.

Ok, so you have your pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)… now let’s talk chili.

With countless different versions, chili recipes vary drastically from one region to another, as well as between people. My recipe is vegetarian (vegan, actually!) and is chock full of pillowy sweet potatoes, tender black beans and spicy heat (serrano peppers & cayenne) tempered by mellow flavors (chili powder, cumin, & cinnamon). Pumpkin beer adds a pleasant depth of flavor, and the pumpkin & tomato purees combine to create a luxurious sauce that ties everything together.

Of course, chili’s best friend is cornbread – and this Pumpkin Cornbread (made with white whole wheat flour) was the perfect accompaniment.

I enjoyed a steaming bowl of this fragrant chili on a cool Sunday afternoon, and didn’t even think twice about eating a leftover serving the very next day.

Straight from the fridge.

Requisite leftover crumbled pumpkin cornbread served alongside :).

Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili

Printer-Friendly Recipe

yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow or white onion
  • 2 serrano chile peppers, minced (you can seed both, one, or neither depending on your heat preference)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder (ancho or chipotle would work nicely, as well)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 cup unseasoned tomato sauce/puree
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (I used homemade, but canned would be fine)
  • 1 cup pumpkin beer (use whatever brew you’d like; for me, it doesn’t get any better than Southern Tier Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale)
  • 1 cup water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the serrano and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the spices and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add in the tomato sauce, pumpkin puree, beer, and water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, add the beans and sweet potato, and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, the chili has thickened, and the flavors have melded, at least 1 hour.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

313.8 calories, 2.2 grams fat, 15.5 grams fiber, 5.1 grams sugar, 13.2 grams protein

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