Pumpkin Fever

Pumpkins are always popular during the fall months, but this year they are exploding on the scene; with some saying they’re “the new bacon.” No longer is this decorative vegetable relegated to the dessert category—today you can order pumpkin bagels, beers, coffees, oatmeal, soups and ravioli to name just a few. Sales of pumpkin flavored items are skyrocketing.

  • Add puréed pumpkin to pancake and waffle batter; drizzle with maple butter.
  • Drop pumpkin chunks into Indian and Thai curry sauces flavored with super foods like garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cumin; simmer until tender.
  • Layer slices of pumpkin in lasagnas made with cheesy white sauce.
  • Use in Mexican food such as mole, nachos and quesadillas.
  • Add pumpkin to create delightful dessert cocktails.

Autumn is the best time for tailgating, hanging by the fireside and wrapping up in sweaters and blankets. And what goes great with all of those? Chili. Fall is the season for chili as well as pumpkin related foods. So why not try combining the two?

Drunken Pumpkin Chili

1 lb. lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup pumpkin ale
15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds removed and minced
15-ounce can black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add the ground beef to a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot and brown over medium-high heat, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Immediately add the minced garlic, diced onion, diced carrots, and diced bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about seven minutes, or until the meat is nicely browned and the veggies are softened. If you need to, drain off fat then return everything to the pot and reduce the heat to medium.

Add the bay leaf, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, and tomato paste, and stir to combine. Add the pumpkin ale and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Allow the pumpkin ale to cook and reduce for about five minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and diced tomato. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the minced chipotle peppers and stir. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 45 minutes. Stir in the black beans and simmer another 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.

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