Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pumpkin & Black Bean Chili

If you showed this recipe to a Texan, he or she would scoff and call it a goulash, insisting this can not be called a chili.  If there is one thing I learned from my time spent in the Lone Star state, it's that there is no place for beans in chili!  However, beans are the perfect little vessel of vegetarian protein, a boatload of fiber, and a plethora of vitamins and minerals including folate and iron.  Therefore, this Texan-born gal will continue to include this magical food in her chili. 

The great thing about chili, is that there is a lot of room for you to make it your own!  Don't want beans?  Then leave them out!  Want to cut fat with turkey instead of beef?  Go for it!  Want to add a ton of veggies and varieties of beans for a vegetarian version?  You got it!

In this case, I wanted to celebrate the flavor of the season- pumpkin!  And of course you know there is a nutrition bonus... pumpkin, along with other winter squash, is a fantastic source of vitamin A and carotenoids.  This means you are gaining powerful antioxidant benefits from this beautiful orange fall treat. 

And as if that wasn't enough!  But you are also getting a healthy dose of fiber, and low calorie count per serving.  My clients have all heard me push fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  For someone looking to keep off the pounds over the holidays, high-fiber foods, like pumpkin and beans, can help keep us full for longer. 

But let's get down to the good stuff now... Pumpkin & Black Bean Chili, a great one-pot meal for a chilly fall evening.

Start by browning your beef.  I used NC grown, grass-fed beef.  This is a more sustainable choice, but does not mean the beef is lower in fat.  So brown your beef and then drain the meat in a colander under hot-running water.  This removes the extra saturated ("bad") fats.

Set your meat aside.  In a large skillet, heat 1 Tb oil (coconut, olive, canola) over medium heat.  Add your chopped bell pepper, onion and garlic and sauté until tender and onions are somewhat translucent, about 5-8 minutes. 
While the vegetables are tenderizing you can start adding your seasoning.  Stir in chili powder, cumin, chipotle, oregano, pepper. 
When your vegetables are nice and tender, you will stir in your pumpkin, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and drained black beans.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  You may add water as needed if chili becomes too thick. 
Scoop your chili into bowls and top with guacamole.  I also served mine with Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Tortilla chips.  These are awesome... just make sure you scoop your serving onto the plate instead of eating strait out of the bag.  This will help you from over-eating!

Pumpkin & Black Bean Chili
1lb grass-fed ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 Tb coconut oil (may use oil of choice)
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb chili powder
1 Tb cumin
1 Tb dried oregano
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pure pumpkin
1. Brown beef over medium heat until no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes.  Drain and rinse under hot water.
2. Heat oil over medium heat.  Add bell pepper, onion, garlic and cook until veggies start to tenderized, about 5 minutes. 
3. Stir cumin, chili powder, oregano, chipotle and salt and pepper into veggies.  Stir and cook 1-2 minutes longer. 
4. Add diced tomatoes, rinsed black beans and pumpkin.  Bring to boil, then turn heat down and simmer for on low for 30 minutes.  Add more water as needed to reach desired consistency.  Serve with guacamole and tortilla chips.

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