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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recipe! Pumpkin-Turkey Chili

 When I saw a recipe for Pumpkin Turkey Chili, it tickled my taste buds and my imagination. Why? Because few things comfort in the winter cold like chili, but the bright, smooth taste of pumpkin could only make chili all the better. Not to mention the flavors and spices that could be used...! So that's how it started. I picked up the necessary ingredients and I went to work, only I followed the recipe I found on Whole Foods for about ten seconds before I started deviating all over the place and eventually, somehow, made my own dish.

Thus, the following recipe has a rather long list of ingredients...rest assured, most of them are spices and seasonings. You can (and will, I'm sure) adjust various spices and seasonings to make the chili to your taste, but at the end you will have a pleasantly sweet-hot chili, silky smooth with great, delicious pieces of turkey, onion, tomato and green pepper and two different, delectable beans. My version was fairly spicy...for a tamer chili, leave out some of the pepper and be judicious with your sriracha.

The best thing about this chili is that its as healthy as it is delicious. Ground turkey is a lean meat, together with legumes this chili packs a protein punch that's awesome for building calorie-burning lean muscle. Also, pumpkin is one of the world's healthiest foods, with a very low calorie content and a high vitamin content. And while we're on the subject of the world's healthiest foods, black beans, kidney beans, green bell peppers, onions, and turkey make the list as well.

Healthy and a crowd pleaser...what's not to love? Without further ado....
Pumpkin Turkey Chili

1 pound ground turkey
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions 
8 cloves garlic put through a press
1 bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 jalepenos, deseeded and chopped
1-2 T brown sugar
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (or Rotel, if you want VERY spicy chili)
2-3 cups pumpkin puree (canned or not)
2 cups kidney beans, cooked (or one can, drained and rinsed)
2 cups black beans, cooked (or one can, drained and rinsed)
2-3 cups vegetable broth (one cup reserved)
3 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 t paprika
pinch of white pepper, ground black pepper, cinnamon, and allspice
1/2 t Sriracha
1/2 t Tamari
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 t garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook  turkey in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat until just brown. Add onions and garlic and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until onions are just translucent (you may season meat and onions with some of the salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin and half the brown sugar if you want to enhance the flavor). Add green pepper, jalapenos, cook for about five minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, 2 cups of the broth, and beans. Stir until blended, then add the remaining seasonings. Stir well and add reserved broth if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring often and adjusting seasonings for flavor.

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