The first cookbook I ever ordered was Help! My Apartment Has A Kitchen (my copy of this book is so old that the cover is different!). I ordered it shortly after I graduated from college, started my first job, bought my first car and moved into my first apartment. I’m not sure what made me order the book. I suspect I was tired of eating Lean Cuisine glazed chicken (I lived on these in college because they were readily available at the university ‘grocery’ store) and wanted to try cooking something for myself. This book was a great way to ease me into being comfortable in the kitchen. The recipes are incredibly simple, but the results are really good. For a beginning cook, that’s what you need.
One recipe I come back to again and again is the book’s recipe for Chili con Carne. Onion, garlic, ground turkey, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, liquid, beans. That’s it. It’s not a complicated recipe, but it’s a great starter chili and a great base recipe. I’ve made this chili more times that I can count. I find that this recipe never really fails and when I want an uncomplicated chili that I can make in a hurry, this is what I make.
Today, was not one of those in-a-hurry days. It’s 57 degrees outside and raining so I figured today was a perfect day for the first big pot of chili of the season. My first impulse was to make the tried and true recipe, but I wanted to do something a little different.
A couple of days ago, a friend asked if I like pumpkin. I’m not the biggest fan of pumpkin pie, but pumpkin muffins, scones, bread and pancakes are delicious. I don’t eat a lot of savory pumpkin, though. In the fall and winter, I look forward to cooking with various types of squash in savory recipes, but I hardly ever use pumpkin. Today was the day I decided to jump on the savory pumpkin train and make turkey pumpkin chili.
This chili is delicious! The pumpkin flavor isn’t strong, but it adds a sweet (but not sugary) undertone to the chili. Also, pumpkin is all kinds of healthy. Pumpkins have a lot of common nutrients, like iron, zinc, and fiber. It’s rich in carotenoids, which is known for keeping the immune system of an individual strong and healthy. And it’s good. So there’s that.
The good thing about this recipe is that the simple base: Onion, garlic, ground turkey, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, liquid, beans. It’s the quality of the ingredients that are going to boost the chili. Buy ground meat from a source you trust. Use the best, freshest spices you can find. Use organic broth.
Snuggle in for the night and watch a movie on the couch while enjoying a big bowl of this chili.
Turkey Chili with Pumpkin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced (feel free to use less. we like garlic)
1 pound ground turkey
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups (or 1 15 oz can) pumpkin puree
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups organic beef broth*
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion and bell pepper until tender. Stir in the turkey, and cook until evenly brown. Push the mixture to the side of the pot and add the garlic and spices. Stir the spices for about 20 seconds to allow them to toast. Mix with the turkey mixture. Add the pumpkin and cook for 1 minute. Taste the mixture and adjust spices as needed. Mix in tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add the beans and let cook on low for an additional 10 minutes. Serve topped with chopped cilantro.
*I like the flavor the beef broth gives to chili. Feel free to substitute organic chicken broth or organic vegetable broth.