Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pumpkin Chicken Chili

The weather warmed up considerably this week, thank goodness, because I'd about had enough of -9 degree days.  After a delivering a cake yesterday morning - carefully sidestepping the icy patch by our steps that I slipped on just a couple days ago prompting a fear of sending the cake I'd worked so hard on flying through the air - then doing a little Christmas shopping, we went out for a dinner of sushi last night, and then saw The Hobbit 2, which I really liked.  Now if only we didn't have to wait another year to see the next one.

A few weeks ago, the warm, sunny blue skies darkened to snow clouds in a matter of hours, the temperatures dropped well below freezing and the snow started falling.  On such a cold night, the chicken caesar salad I had planned to make for dinner seemed completely inappropriate, so I rummaged through the cupboards hoping to find something I could turn into soup.

Cans of beans and broth, chicken, vegetables and spices were the promising makings of chicken chili.  And a can of pumpkin added an unexpected, but completely wonderful, creaminess and richness to the chili as well.  Jamie never even guessed the secret ingredient when he tasted it, but if he'd seen me put it in, he would have thought it a strange ingredient to add to chili.  It was the perfect comforting dinner for a freezing cold night.

Pumpkin Chicken Chili

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts (about 3 large breasts)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) Great Northern Beans, undrained
  • 1 can (14 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 can (14 ounces) broth (vegetable, chicken or beef)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • sour cream, cheese, crackers, chopped green onions, pickled jalapenos, etc, for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Butterfly the chicken breasts and season each side with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken just until cooked through, then shred with two forks.

Meanwhile, heat the other tablespoon olive oil in a stock pot.  Cook the carrots, celery and onion until softened, about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, including the shredded chicken.  Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium low heat for about 45 minutes until the flavors have deepened, then add more salt and pepper if needed.

Yields about 6-8 servings

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen