Many of you know my hubby suffered a heart attack a couple of weeks ago, and thanks to lots of prayer and great medical care he is doing well. He’s been home resting for about a week now, and he’s going a little stir crazy – he hooked up LOTS of speakers to just about anything he could, he arranged to have a new roof put on the Little House (thank Heavens we needed one), and he decided we needed cable TV so he could watch football. The new roof had me doing cartwheels, the speakers not so much, and football had me thinking – Football Food!!! The only problem was, having never really been a football watcher, I wasn’t really sure what football food was. I also had another problem, even though I wasn’t quite sure what football food was, I was pretty sure it was high in fat and salt – two ingredients that were now a no-no for my hubby. What I came up with was chili – Pumpkin Chili.
Pumpkin Chili is something I have been making for years and has always been a hit with both family and friends, and I have shared its recipe with just about everyone I know. I was very excited, because I was sure chili had to be a football food – right? My chili recipe had a problem though, it was made with canned beans and they have LOTS of sodium in them; even after you rinse them they’re still loaded. Also, in the past I’ve used canned pumpkin and canned tomatoes. Luckily, I had already cooked some dry beans and roasted some pumpkin and I had both in my freezer. I didn’t really want to use canned tomatoes and I didn’t have any freshly stewed, so I thought to myself – “hmm, I wonder how it would taste if I roasted the tomatoes and veggies for the chili?” Let me just say YUM! The chili was fantastic and it was great with football, so I thought I’d share…
If you’re going to make this fresh, you will need to start EARLY in the morning or a day before, because cooking the beans takes about 3 ½ hours at a minimum, roasting the pumpkin in an hour, and roasting the tomatoes and the veggies is another hour.
Put dry red kidney beans in a pot with 3 C. water, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes; remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse. Return beans to your pot with 3 cups of fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 ½ hours or until the beans are tender.
If you hurry, you can still get sugar pumpkins. This is the girl Crazy at a local farm.
“No honey, that’s butternut squash not pumpkin” – crazy girl.
Bring that sugar pumpkin home, wash it off, cut it in half, clean out all the guts, stick it on a rimmed baking pan with just a little water and roast at 400* for about an hour, when its done the skin pretty much just falls off. Take that yummy pumpkin meat; stick it in your food processor and puree.
Next, you need to get those tomatoes and veggies into the oven. Reduce your heat to 350*, then slice 8 Roma tomatoes in half. Don’t worry about the skin and the seeds, just put it all in the baking dish– waste not want not. Core and seed one sweet bell pepper – use what ever color is your favorite (I used green). Cut it into large pieces and toss it into the pan. Also, toss in one medium onion peeled and cubed, one stalk of celery cut into about 2 inch pieces, and 4 garlic cloves. Spray it all with non-fat cooking spray and if you like sprinkle with salt (I skipped this part). Toss it all in the oven and bake for an hour.
You’re almost done. You now need to fry up some ground chicken breast. You can buy this already ground at the grocery store, or you can do what I do and buy boneless skinless chicken breast and grind them yourself. The benefit of doing this is you can buy nice healthy meat and you know nothing else has been ground up with it. If you don’t own a meat grinder, fret not – head on back to that food processor, toss in your chicken breast, and puree. You now have ground chicken breast.
Ok, we’re heading into the home stretch. Now you’re going to mix it all together with some spices (in the shopping list below), bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. When its all done you can either serve it with a little grated cheese and diced green onion (how I used to do it) or you can serve it the heart-healthy way with cilantro and dice avocado (my new way).
Your shopping list:
- 2 ½ C. cooked red kidney beans
- 2 C. roasted pumpkin puree
- 8 Roma tomatoes
- 1 large sweet bell pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 1 celery stalk
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 lb. ground chicken breast
- 3 tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ – 1 tsp. salt (I used a heart healthy half)
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. paprika
- Fresh cilantro
I hope you enjoy.
I’m off now, its Monday and football is on tonight – I need another football meal.