Autumn has arrived. The leaves are falling, the nights are cooler and I have returned to the kitchen. I love a cozy Sunday afternoon in a warm sweater and thick socks, the football game on in the background, an aromatic pot of chili bubbling away on the stove.
Not just any chili though. This chili recipe has been a long time in the making. It wasn’t until last year that I finished it’s fine-tuning. I knew my work was done when Brad, the in-house chili connoisseur, started to request it with an almost annoying frequency. (I’m telling you, the man LOVES chili).
A few unconventional ingredients pack both flavor and nutrition. Pumpkin puree provides a luxurious mouth-feel and ups the beta carotene and fiber by a mile. Unsweetened cocoa supplies a blast of antioxidant power while adding a surprising depth of flavor. A heaping scoop of chia ensures a healthy dose of calcium and the many herbs and spices double up on antioxidant power and taste. In addition to all that, this dish is full of fresh veggies and hearty legumes. It makes a wonderfully nourishing meal on a blustery fall day.
This recipe can easily be adapted for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike. As always, CSA ingredients are in bold type.
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 lb. lean, organic, grass finished beef *for vegan/vegetarian version, omit or replace with a meat substitute
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 scant T KC BBQ sauce
- 1 28-oz can organic crushed tomatoes
- 1 15-0z can organic tomato sauce
- 1 15-oz can organic pumpkin puree ( or 2 C homemade pumpkin puree)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 heaping tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp corriander
- 1/4 tsp chipotle chili (add more if you like it spicy. You could also use cayenne pepper)
- 1 T agave nectar
- 2 16-oz cans organic red kidney beans, drained (or 4 C cooked, dried beans)
- 1 16-0z can organic black beans, drained (or 2 C cooked, dried beans)
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 T chia seeds
- in a large dutch oven or stock pot, saute the onions with the olive oil
- when the onions have softened, add the garlic and ground beef and cook until browned
- add the bell peppers and season with 1 tsp salt and black pepper
- add bqq sauce and stir until peppers have softened
- add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and pumpkin
- add herbs and spices, agave nectar and remaining tsp salt
- stir in beans, cocoa and chia and simmer until flavors are melded (20-30 minutes)