Recipe Review: Pumpkin & Black Bean Chili

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Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili

Recipe can be found at Unconventional Cooking

                It’s been six months since I’ve completed a blog post and a lot has happened in that time. I’ve got a new day job, my voice studio has grown, I made my directorial debut in the fall, and to top it all off I’m engaged!

The moment after I said Yes (and called my parents of course!)

The moment after I said Yes!!! (and called my parents of course!)

I haven’t really been cooking many new recipes because I’ve been so busy…and when I have made something new, I’ve forgotten to take notes and/or shoot pictures. 😦 But now the dust has settled (well, as much as it can) and I’m trying to get back on the horse so to speak.   I decided to use one of my favorite foods to get me back into the groove of recipe testing and blogging, soup.

The ingredient line up

The ingredient line up

I chose a pumpkin and black bean chili that I found on Pinterest (surprise, surprise). I’ve seen several recipes and restaurant dishes that use the pumpkin\ black bean combo and I thought it sounded intriguing and potentially very tasty. Chris was hesitant at first (he’s not a huge pumpkin fan) but said he’d at least give it a try. So one night after teaching a few lessons, I pulled out my small soup pot and gave the chili a whirl.

Mmmmm toasted onion and spices....

Mmmmm toasted onion and spices….

On the outset I made a few adjustments to the recipe. I chose not to use red bell pepper as I didn’t really think it would add anything to the dish. I also substituted granulated garlic for fresh because the bulb I had was really old.  The recipe says to take the time and toast the spices.  I think this step is vital in the success of the meal. In addition to making the house smell like scrumptious cumin, it really makes the flavors bloom and adds more depth to the quick cooking chili. The recipe says to add salt, but doesn’t say exactly how much. I found that the soup needed at least two or three pinches of salt to balance everything out.

Once the 30 minutes of bubbling is complete and the chili is ready, it’s really quite fantastic. It’s got a toasted smoky flavor with a little bit of heat from the cumin and red chili flakes. The canned pumpkin puree makes the chili hearty and filling without being too sweet or “gourd-like”.  Much to my surprise, Chris liked it even though it was a vegetarian meal!

The Chili after 30 minutes of simmering.

The Chili after 30 minutes of simmering.

The recipe makes several topping suggestions for the chili. Chris and I both used some shredded cheddar cheese which added a nice depth of flavor to the bowl. I also put a dollop of sour cream on mine; I thought the chili would benefit from the added tang.  Chris thought the chili was too mushy on day two, but I disagreed, it was even better the second day with the addition of a little greek yogurt on top.

A warm bowl of the good stuff

A warm bowl of the good stuff, pre-toppings

                I may fiddle with a few things here or there, but overall I think this is a very good recipe. I’m super excited that my darling carnivore liked the chili without any animal products.  I might try adding some ground turkey or chicken to a batch at some point for him, but for now I’m just glad he ate a whole bowl of vegetarian chili. This is a great meal for a chilly (wonk wonk) weeknight when you want a hearty dish but don’t have a lot of time.

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3 thoughts on “Recipe Review: Pumpkin & Black Bean Chili

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