One of the things that I wanted to do last fall was make chili with pumpkin. Ever since I discovered my love for cooking with pumpkin puree, chili was tops on my “to-make” list. Fall came and went without me having a chance to make some. Thankfully I live in an area that sees a good amount of winter which provides nice chili-makin’ and chili-eatin’ weather.
One of my vegan cookbooks, Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan, has a recipe for chili using cocoa powder in it. This intrigued me greatly! I have used cocoa in a savory recipe before (Cocoa Chili Rubbed Chicken) but haven’t used it as a savory spice since then. I wanted to rectify that quickly. Could I combine my desire for using pumpkin in chili with the addition of cocoa powder without it tasting like a pudding gone wrong?
Last week I decided to experiment and find out!
Andrea’s Sweet Potato and Squash Chili
- 1 large green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 a medium onion, chopped
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (small pieces)
- 2 medium yellow squash, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 chipotle pepper, chopped + spoonful of adobo sauce
- 3C Pumpkin puree (heaping)
- 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 Box of organic chicken stock
- 1 15oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 15oz can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- 3TBSP (heaping) of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3tsp Garlic powder
- 3tsp Chili powder
- 1tsp Smoked Paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for sauteeing
In a very large soup pot (or dutch oven) drizzle in a little olive oil (1/2 -1 TBSP) and heat over medium heat. Add in the onion, carrot, and green pepper. Sautee for about two minutes until they just start to soften, then add in the sweet potato and squash. Add in all seasonings, except for the cocoa, and continue to sautee for about 3 minutes. Add in the diced tomatoes and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot at this point. Now add in the cocoa powder and stir. Add in the chicken stock, chipotle pepper + sauce, and then gradually add in the pumpkin and combine. Add in the beans and stir. Simmer over medium heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Taste test and check the level of seasonings, adjust if necessary. May need more garlic and chili powder added.
Serve in large soup bowls topped with cheese and enjoy!
I will tell you right off the bat that this makes a lot of chili. A LOT. Because when I make soups and chili, my rule of thumb is go big or go home. I make sure I have plenty for leftovers for immediate eating and also for freezer storage. This was almost too much for my big soup pot!
After the cocoa amount, my seasonings are approximate measurements because I forgot to write those down. Shame on me! So make sure to taste and adjust to your preference.
This chili exceeded all of my expectations because I admit I was a little nervous about the combo but it was fantastic! Probably my most favorite chili I’ve made so far. Normally I try to cram as many veggies in chili as possible, so this version was a bit different in that it had large amounts of a few types. It worked out wonderfully though! The pumpkin keeps the chili thick and creamy while the cocoa adds a depth that you will not get from anything else. It also pairs great with chili powder making it more complex tasting. The smell is so so good! Unless you know it has cocoa powder in it, you can’t tell. When I listed off the ingredients for Scott he was pretty surprised by them. He also loved this chili!
This would be a great for a slow cooker as well and I would have done that but I got started late in the day. Next time for sure!
Since the pumpkin does make it very thick, keep an eye on it just in case you have to add more liquid. Naturally you can use veggie stock if you prefer. This chili reheats well but you will have to add a bit more liquid to it. It tastes even better once it has had a day to sit around and be lazy.
This was just the right spicy heat level for me but if you love super spicy, add in some jalapeno and more chipotles to kick it up a bit!
I have to say that I’m really glad I made so much because I’m looking forward to eating it again! This made enough for immediate leftovers plus 3 more containers in my freezer! Woo!
Pairs well with Cheddar Beer Bread!
Have fun guys and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!