Pumpkin Chili in Pumpkin Bowls
This was our main dish for the 2013 Pumpkin Spectacular. The pumpkin bowls add charm and whimsy to the dish making a great presentation. Plus, they allow for even more pumpkin goodness for those you want it. Just scrape some pumpkin with every scoop of chili. The chili is a bit spicy and has a ton of flavor. The spiciness works well with the pumpkin flavors, especially if you scrape pumpkin into your scoops of chili.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 ½ – 2 hours
Serves: 4 as a main; 6-8 as a side or starter
4 small pie pumpkins (1 per person); or 6-8 mini pumpkins for a side/starter dish
4 Andouille sausage links, diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced, plus 1 teaspoon of sauce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1-2 teaspoons chili powder (depending on how spicy you like your chili)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½-1 cup pure pumpkin puree, depending on taste (you can always add some more pumpkin in later toward the end of cooking if you wish)
1 quart of chicken broth
1 – 15oz can tomato puree (or canned whole tomatoes, pureed)
1 – 15oz. can black beans (or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter, softened + 1 tablespoon flour (optional, to thicken)
½ lb. Gruyere cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Wash the pumpkins. Cut the tops off, about ¼ to ⅓ of the way down. You want a good size opening, since you will use this as a bowl for the chili. Scoop out the pulp and seeds. Save the seeds, if you wish, for roasting. Season the insides with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Roast, cut side down for about 35-45 minutes, or until they easily pierce with a fork, but are still a tiny bit firm. (I also roasted the tops with the stems) Again, you will use these as bowls, so you want the flesh soft and edible, but not falling apart. Once done roasting, set aside.
If using mini pumpkins, reduce the cooking time to around 20-30 minutes. I suggest cooking them before cutting off the tops and scraping out the pulp. I am never able to cut the tops off when they are uncooked, since they are so hard and small. Don’t cook them too long, or they turn to pumpkin mush and they will be too flimsy as a bowl. Check early and often during roasting.
Dice the sausage. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to a large 4 quart sauce pan and set over medium heat. Sauté the sausage until cooked through and crisp. Remove from the pot and reserve.
While the sausage crisps chop the onion and red pepper, and mince the 2 cloves of garlic.
Once the sausage is removed from the skillet, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet if there is not enough rendered sausage fat in the skillet. If there is too much rendered sausage fat pour some out. You want about two tablespoons of oil/fat.
Add the diced onion and sprinkle with sea salt, and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the diced red pepper, and minced garlic to the skillet and sprinkle with a bit more salt and continue to sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about another 5-10 minutes.
Add in the chopped chipotle and 1 teaspoon sauce, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1-2 teaspoons chili powder, and ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper. Stir for a minute or so. Add in the 2 tablespoons tomato paste and ½ to 1 cup pumpkin puree and heat through. It’s okay if brown bits begin to form on the bottom of the skillet. Keep warm, but do not burn the paste and vegetables.
Pour about a ¼ cup of the chicken broth into the skillet and scrape up the fond (brown bits) with a wooden spoon or whisk. Cook for a minute or two.
Add in the remaining chicken broth, 1 can pureed tomatoes, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Let cook for 5-10 minutes, and then add in the black beans. Cook for about 30 minutes, and then taste for seasoning. Add more sea salt, soy sauce or brown sugar if needed. Cook for another 1 or so, or until desired flavor and consistency.
After an hour or so of cooking, if you prefer your chili thicker, mix together 1 tablespoon softened butter with 1 tablespoon flour, to form a paste. Stir this paste into the simmering chili. Keep stirring for a few minutes as the paste dissolves and thickens the chili. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Grate the Gruyere cheese during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Ladle the chili into the roasted pumpkins. Sprinkle the cheese over the chili. Broil the chili for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden. Watch closely while broiling as it can easily burn.
Serve 1 filled pumpkin per guest, placing the pumpkin in a shallow bowl (just in case it leaks a bit). Serve with hot soft pretzels for dunking.
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