A Belieber in Pumpkin

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m having a love affair…

With pumpkin! I’ve had a pumpkin fetish ever since the pumpkin spice latte was introduced at Starbucks years ago. I do think the pumpkin craze is a bit much now, a little too mainstream. But I’d like to think I was one of the original pumpkin enthusiasts, before it became so in vogue.

But so what if pumpkin is more of a “rom-com” than an edgy, indie flick. I’ve always preferred my movies cheesy and my music poppy. Maybe pumpkin is the Justin Bieber of food right now, but that’s not going to stop my obsession (with pumpkin I mean, although I do have quite the case of Bieber Fever). Knock it all you want, but it’s darn good, and you can’t deny that you don’t love it too (again, I’m talking about pumpkin here, but also applies to the Biebs).

We all love pumpkin for its sweet, nutty flavor; but the reason it’s such a beloved ingredient is for what it represents: family traditions, holidays, gathering together with loved ones. Surprisingly pumpkin pie was never a staple at our Thanksgiving table, but the symbol of what it represents makes me nostalgic for holidays past as a kid.

While I love your standard pumpkin dishes – pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread – I’m interested in using it in new and expected ways. So when I came across this recipe from Serious Eats for pumpkin turkey chili, I just had to try it. Pumpkin and chili, how much more autumn and hearty can you get? It seemed like the perfect combination…and trust me, it was! The pumpkin flavor was very subtle, but added a nice warmth and spice to the chili. It was the perfect one-pot meal to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon. This pumpkin turkey chili gave a more hipster edge to an otherwise Bieber-esque ingredient.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Makes 5-6  servings


1 tbs vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lb ground turkey

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1 can (14.5 oz) red kidney beans

1 can (14.5 oz) pumpkin puree

1 1/2 tbs chili powder

1/2 tbs cumin

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Cayenne pepper to taste (about 3-4 shakes)

1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped

Shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.

2. Saute onion, pepper, green chiles and garlic until tender – about 10 minutes.

3. Make room in the center of the pot. Add the turkey and brown, breaking up with the back of a spoon.

4. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pumpkin. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper.

5. Reduce heat and simmer at least 20 minutes. Stir in fresh cilantro. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese.

The perfect workweek lunch – healthy, hearty and delicious!

One thought on “A Belieber in Pumpkin

  1. Pingback: Friday Five: Happy Halloween! | Cooking Cara

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