Pumpkin-Roasted Red Pepper Chili

Chili is one of those dishes whose popularity defies description. And one of the reasons is that there are so many variations of it that it’s hard not to like it.

course, there are two distinct camps when it comes to chili. In one is those who use beans. In the other, legumes are a no-no.

I’m one of those people who likes both. In fact, I’m game to try just about any kind of chili, no matter what’s in it.

That’s why a recipe that was sent to me by a co-worker, Chris Bieri, has been printed out and is sitting on my kitchen counter, awaiting a trial run.

After a little research, I discovered the recipe originally came from Associated Press food writer J.M Hirsch. I’ve always been a fan of Hirsch’s recipes, which are part of our AP wire service.

This recipe for chili is a pretty traditional one (without beans) that contains pumpkin puree as well as roasted red peppers. Hirsch says the pumpkin is very subtle, and it creates a wonderfully creamy texture to the chili. (The meat is bison and pork.)

Besides adding a sweet nutty flavor to dishes, pumpkin is a ready source of vitamin A, which boosts the nutrition content of this offbeat chili.

Pumpkin-Roasted Red Pepper Chili
2 medium yellow onions, quartered
16-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
15-ounce can pumpkin puree
6-ounce can tomato paste
2 pounds ground bison
1 pound boneless pork ribs, roughly chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
Salt and ground black pepper
In a blender or food processor, combine the onions, roasted red peppers, pumpkin and tomato paste. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
Heat a large stockpot over medium-high. Add the bison and pork and cook until starting to brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Add the pumpkin mixture and the broth, then stir well. Add the garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, smoked paprika and chili powder.
Bring to a simmer then partially cover the pot to prevent splattering but allow steam to escape. Simmer for 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: Chris said he might dump in a bottle or two of a good seasonal fall beer.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 650 calories, 60 percent of  calories from fat; 43 grams fat (17 grams saturated, no trans fats), 170 milligrams cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, 44 grams protein, 5 grams fiber, 1,170 milligrams sodium.