Sneaky Gypsy Pumpkin Chili
On Halloween week at work, we had a week of fun activities … we had a pumpkin carving contest and a comfy day (which I totally missed cuz I forgot), a breakfast potluck and of course, we were invited to dress up for Halloween. My team dressed up as bats (because we drive the developers batty) and carved and decorated our pumpkins to match.
On Friday, we had a chili cookoff. I’m not really much into cooking competitions (perhaps because I would hate to lose), but I felt like I just HAD to compete in this one. There were four categories: spiciest, most unique, best tasting overall, and best vegetarian. I thought about going for vegetarian or spiciest, but I was worried if I went for spiciest, it wouldn’t all get eaten, and I wanted to use up some of the meat in my freezer. So … most unique. I figured I could do unique.
I put little pumpkin chunks in my chili, lots of different beans (7 kinds!), and then I used “gypsy” spices, like in my Gypsy Stew. I tasted it after all this and it needed a little something sweet. I remembered a long long time ago, in New Mexico a friend of mine had made chili for dinner one night and the “funky” ingredient in it was raisins. I was skeptical that raisins could be good in chili … but they were awesome! So I threw in a few raisins and suddenly my chili had just the right amount of “sweet”.
My chili won! I was excited that I really pulled it off … okay, it wasn’t a BIG competition, only 12 entries, but still, it won! My “prize” was this “bragging rights trophy” … so fittingly, a spoon.
The name comes from the “gypsy” spices … and from one of my taste testers, who tasted it and said “no, it’s not spicy” and then, a moment later, it hit her. “Wooo! It’s SNEAKY!” she said. It’s really not all that spicy, but if you put the seeds from the hot peppers in the chili, it is, occasionally a little sneak, which adds an element of fun to your chili.
- 1 lb. lean ground meat (beef, turkey, venison, elk ... whatever you prefer!)
- 2 onions, peeled & chopped
- 7 cloves of garlic
- 3 cups pumpkin chunks
- 4 cups cooked mixed beans (I cooked up a mix of garbonzo, pinto, yellow & green split peas, black beans, red beans, and Great Northern white beans)
- 3 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes (ok to use canned)
- 2 bell peppers (red, green or yellow)
- 1 - 4 hot peppers (jalapenos or cayenne, I used both)
- 2 cups broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon powdered chimayo chiles
- 3 teaspoons Red Robin seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- A Tablespoon or so of fresh oregano leaves
- In your soup pot over medium heat, cook the meat till brown. Towards the end of the browning, add in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft & translucent. Drain off any excess fat from the meat.
- Add in the pumpkin, beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, broth, raisins, and spices. Cover and cook for 30 minutes to an hour or until the pumpkin is tender and the flavors are nicely blended, stirring every so often.
- Just a few minutes before serving, stir in the cilantro and oregano leaves. Serve hot with shredded cheese, chopped onion and fresh cilantro or oregano leaves for garnish, if you like.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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