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Weird, wonderful chili. January 26, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes.
Tags: , , ,

Silence Dogood here (again). I know I posted a version of this recipe a couple of months ago, but it’s so cold outside, and this is so delicious and warming, that I’m posting it again. I made this version last night and loved it even more than the first version.

Like all chilis, there are endless possible variations, which leaves a lot of room for you to experiment, substituting things you know your family will love for things you don’t especially like. For example, I could easily have added oregano or pinto beans to the mix, or even dumped in some leftover coffee to deepen the flavor. Sometimes I like to use four kinds of kidney beans for a confetti-style chili: dark red, red, pink, and white (aka cannelini beans). But taking the classic kitchen-sink approach, I just tossed in the first four cans that came to hand. The result? Incredible!

Mind you, it doesn’t sound incredible. In fact, it sounds pretty darned disgusting. That’s why I’m urging you to try it and see for yourselves. You really won’t believe how good it is! And vegetarians, there’s nary a piece of meat, but vegans will need to modify the recipe to leave out the half-and-half. (Yes, you read that right, half-and-half in chili, and that’s not the, pardon the pun, half of it!) This is fantastic with hot-from-the-oven cornbread and a big, bold salad, or with a side of rice (my preference) or over rice (our friend Ben’s preference), too, or maybe some luscious grilled polenta.

I couldn’t help but notice the evidence this morning (hmmm, an unwashed bowl that wasn’t there last night… ) that some people who shall remain nameless couldn’t resist getting up in the dead of night to help themselves to even more. So try it, don’t tell anybody what’s in it, and watch how fast it disappears!

         Pumpkin Chili

1 small or 1/2 large can pumpkin puree (not pie filling, 100% pumpkin) 

2 cans kidney beans

1 can black beans

1 can butter beans

4 medium to large onions (can combine pungent and sweet if desired)

4 large cloves garlic

1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper

1 small (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1/2 to 2/3 cup half-and-half

vegetable stock (all boxed brands are good)

extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon black mustardseeds

2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds

2-4 tablespoons chili powder, to taste

2 tablespoons Trocamare, Herbamare, Real Salt, or salt

2 tablespoons Pickapeppa or Tabasco Chipotle hot sauce, or your favorite

1 tablespoon garam masala (if you don’t have any, try substituting curry powder)

In a large, heavy Dutch oven (I love my LeCreuset), heavy pan, or stock pot, heat a generous amount of olive oil. Add all spices and seasonings, stirring constantly until well mixed. Peel and chop onions, peel and mince garlic, core and dice pepper, and add all to olive oil.  Add veggie stock as needed to keep everything from sticking. When onions have clarified, add beans, tomato paste, and pumpkin puree. Stir well to blend, then stir in half-and-half, again stirring well to blend. Cook on low heat while making rice or cornbread to give flavors a chance to ripen, at least 20 minutes. Add more veggie stock as needed to maintain a rich, thick consistency—not soupy, please!—without burning or sticking. Serve with grated cheese and/or a dollop of sour cream on top if desired. 

Serves four amply, unless one of them is our friend Ben. If you’re lucky enough to have any, leftovers keep and reheat beautifully.

So come on, be brave and try it! I promise you’ll like it.

          ‘Til next time,




1. jodi - January 27, 2009

Nope. Not a chance. I’m brave, usually, but I HATE pumpkin. Except as grimacing vegetables sitting on the step at Halloween. Or shooting arrows into (they make an awesome target backstop, or at least they do if they’re large enough and you’re into archery like I used to be. But to eat? Blech. And what’s particularly odd is that I like most squash, (including zucchini) and sweet potatoes, and cucumbers…but pumpkin? Uh uh. But I’ll enjoy you enjoying it, Silence, for sure!

You HAVE to try it, Jodi! Believe me, I always hated pumpkin as well, unless it was in pumpkin roll, pumpkin bread (hot with butter), or swirled into a really good vanilla cheesecake. I don’t even like winter squash; it’s that slimy texture. But then I discovered curried pumpkin soup. Somehow, the addition of cream, anise liqueur, and sweet onion, along with the spicing, changed everything. And in this chili, you can’t taste pumpkin at all. What it does is add a smooth richness to the dish. By the way, I love the idea of using pumpkins for target practice. Wish I still did archery!

2. inadvertentfarmer - August 29, 2009

This sounds very interesting…I’m gonna see if I have the ingredients! Kim

It’s really good, Kim! The pumpkin gives it a luscious, creamy texture. Try it, you’ll like it!

3. dyberrah - September 20, 2009

Wow… I Googled “weird wonderful chili recipes” and this was the first hit. I just finished my first bowl of this magnificent dish! It is absolutely fabulous – thanks for the recipe! One thing I changed – inadvertently, I used broad beans instead of butter beans. But hey – it’s still delicious 🙂 Yummy!!

Good for you for being brave and trying it! And yes, I think you could experiment with lots of different bean combos and still come out with great chili!

4. Lydia Respalje - December 19, 2010

i’m looking around for some recipes to win a chili contest and i don’t know if i should use thise recipe because it sounds wierd.

Hi, Lydia! Yes, it certainly DOES sound weird, but it’s actually delicious! I suggest that you make a trial batch for yourself, see what you think, then enter it if you love it. Good luck!

5. Cyllya - May 22, 2012

Hey, thanks for this recipe! 🙂 We’ve made it a few times now. We’ve made adjustments for ingredient availability (e.g. where are all the butter beans??) and personal taste (e.g. my fiance wants to halve and puree the onions and double the pumpkin), and we once won a chili contest.

But just a little advice for anyone else making this: measure out all the spices in advance (keep them ready in a little bowl or something) and peel/chop/mince the veggies all BEFORE you start heating the oil. I’ve melted two different spoons now, lol. You’d think I would have learned after the first time, but I mistakenly believed it was because I was dilly-dallying with the veggies. Nope, even the time it takes to measure out the spices gets the oil spoonmeltingly hot. Once you put in the veggies and veggie stock, it should be safe.

Wowie, Cyllya, congratulations on winning the chili contest! I always use canned beans, and I find canned butter beans on the same shelves as all the other canned beans. They’re definitely worth using if you can find them! As for your melted spoons, yikes! I use bamboo spoons, so I didn’t realize this was a hazard. I wish you and your fiance many delicious chili experiments to come!

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