Pumpkin Chili and Jalapeño Cornbread

I’ve just returned from spending three days visiting my family in Houston.  It was such a great visit, and I even managed to see my older sister in from Dallas and my dad before he jetted off to London for his monthly meetings, but its never easy leaving or saying goodbye.  Three days with my family felt like such a tease and now I cannot stop thinking about the holidays.  Back in my Charleston apartment now, I am trying to refocus my energy on classes (my finance exam tomorrow) and look forward to things in my immediate future.  It was raining and chilly when I got back today, but I was excited to remember I had leftover pumpkin chili and jalapeno cornbread that I made Friday before leaving for Houston.  It was comforting to sit down with a delicious bowl of chili and warmed over cornbread… and for a brief while, I forgot how much I was missing “home.”

Cooking with fall flavors is therapeutic.  Whether it’s a dish that reminds you of sitting at your grandmother’s table with friends and family, or a simple bowl of chili that makes you smile even when you might feel down, I encourage you to take some time to this week and make your favorite heart-warming dish.

Recipe: Pumpkin Chili with Turkey

(Loosely adapted from Whole Foods Market – Turkey Pumpkin Chili recipe)
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 1 green bell pepper, chopped
– 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 Tbsp. olive oil
– 2 cups chick broth, or water
– 1 lb. ground turkey
– 1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
– 1 can black beans (no salt added)
– 1 can kidney beans (no salt added)
– 1/2 can pumpkin puree
– 2 tsp. sugar
– 2 tsp. dried oregano
– 1 Tbsp. chili powder
– 2 tsp. cumin powder
– salt and pepper to taste
Toppings (optional):
– lime juice, crumbled goat cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions or chives, Tabasco sauce


Method:
Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, sugar, oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour (can simmer for up to 4 hours). Ladle chili into bowls and serve with toppings and cornbread.

Recipe: Jalapeño Cornbread
(adapted from Epicurious.com)
– 1 ½ cups yellow corn meal
– ½ cup all-purpose flour (or GF flour)
– 3-4 jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped
– 2 Tbsp. sugar
– 2 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1 ½ cups buttermilk*
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
– 1 Tbsp. honey

Method:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter a 9-inch by 2-inch round cake pan or 8-inch square baking pan. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Mix buttermilk, eggs, butter and honey in small bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until firm to touch, about 20 minutes.
*If you do not have buttermilk, you can mix 1 tbsp vinegar with enough milk to make 1 ½ cups. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. I used almond milk and it worked perfectly.

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