Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Chili

I am all about easy dinners these days.  This is the busiest time of year for me at work and in addition to that, I am wrapping up my Fall semester at the university, getting ready to take a marathon Winter semester class, and trying to get started (and hopefully finish soon) my Christmas shopping.  At home, I'm moving my daughter to the bigger of the two guest bedrooms which has proved to be a much bigger project than I had anticipated.  I've had to essentially clean out every closet to facilitate this move.  It's just been never-ending lately.

I love trying new chili recipes.  This one, done in the crockpot, was a no brainer because dinner would be ready and waiting when I got home from work.  I wasn't sure what to expect by adding pumpkin and not using your typical chili beans (pinto beans) but this recipe really worked.  I didn't add any hot sauce except to my bowl, keeping Serena's bowl mild.  I doubled the recipe so we'd have leftovers for the week.  I added 1/2 of a pound of sausage to the original recipe because I had some that I had no other purpose for.  The chili was good.  The smell when you walked in the door had your mouth watering.  You could taste the pumpkin but it was subtle.  It was definitely an interesting twist on chili, a version I would recommend my friends to try.

Pumpkin Chili
slightly adopted from Taste and Tell

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 15.25-ounce can black beans
1 can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
few drops hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saute pan, brown the ground beef. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.

In a medium slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, pumpkin, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Add in the cooked beef and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve with your favorite chili toppings, such as cheese, sour cream, or tortilla strips.

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