Take advantage of seasonal pumpkins for a protein packed chili that defies the stereotypes of its plain-jane cousin. This version uses pumpkin puree to smooth out the texture, chipotle peppers for heat, pumpkin pie spicefor diversity and chopped pumpkin for an extra chunky feel. This recipe is designed for a crock pot, so it can stew all day while you work or play. Use very lean ground meat to keep the calories low and the protein content high.
Cooking tips: Salting beans while cooking results in hard beans. Salting later in the process allows them to get soft. Adding the soft vegetables towards the end of cooking time keeps them in tact. If you put them all in at the start, they will cook to mush and pretty much disappear. Chipotle guide: one pepper will result in a mild chili. Two will give you a medium heat. For hot chili, add three plus some of the adobo sauce from the can. But do this slowly, stir and taste to avoid over spicing. You don't want the heat to overpower the other spices.
1 lb small red beans, sorted, soaked for 8 hours or overnight, drained. Set aside
1 lb ground turkey breast (99% lean) or 1 lb 96% lean ground beef. For a vegan version, omit the meat.
3 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
--- saute in a fry pan with cooking spay, breaking up the meat.
1 12 oz bottle pumpkin ale
--- add to pan and allow to simmer for five minutes. Pour the fry pan mixture into your large crock pot.
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon dry oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 1/4 cups water
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 canned chipotle peppers, seeded and minced (see note above)
The 1 lb of soaked red beans.
---Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir.
Now stir the following into your crock pot mixture:
3 cups diced pumpkin
1 diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
---Cook for one more hour on low
Yields 10 servings
Total recipe calories and protein
Vegan version: 2120 calories/120 grams of protein
Ground Turkey Breast version: 2600 calories/232 grams of protein
Ground Beef version: 2680 calories/216 grams of protein