Last fall, this colorful and sweet pumpkin chili won a neighborhood chili cook-off. This fall it’s winning a different sort of contest: the baby Sophie finger food contest. Beans are such a great source of protein, and with so many fun colors, this chili is irresistible to a baby suddenly hell bent on feeding herself, completely by herself.
Having another baby after a five year break is a constant rediscovery of phases long forgotten. I had buried in some distant part of my subconscious that oh so messy stage when every meal requires a head to toe shower for both baby and mom. With every bite such a challenge to get in her little mouth, I have to make sure everything I put in front of her is a healthy one.
Chili gets a bad rap as unhealthy tailgate fare, but if you keep the sour cream and shredded cheddar toppings to a minimum, it’s actually a great, low-fat dish that’s packed with protein to keep you full. Substitute turkey for ground beef, and it’s even healthier.
I tone the spice of this up or down, depending on whether I’m feeding hungry babies or adults, but either way, this chili is a family favorite.
- 1½ pounds of lean turkey meat
- 1½ onions, chopped finely
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
- 4 carrots, diced
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (substitute something spicier such as ancho chili powder if serving to grownups)
- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 can of stewed tomatoes
- 2 cans of red beans
- 1 can of great northern beans
- 1 can of corn
- 1 can of pumpkin
- salt, pepper
- In a large frying pan, melt the butter. Add onions and garlic. Saute until softened and translucent. Add the carrots and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Add the turkey, crumbling the raw meat into tiny pieces. Saute until cooked through. Season with the cinnamon.
- Add the canned pumpkin and mix thoroughly.
- Transfer to a slow cooker, making sure to scrape up every last browned, sauteed bit.
- Add the canned tomatoes and stir to break up any large tomato chunks.
- Open the canned beans. Drain and rinse two to three times. Add the beans to the pot. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook on high for 2 hours.
- Add the canned corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with a dollop of cream cheese.