Famous Pumpkin Chili

As with all recipes that claim to be “famous,” the more-apt title might read “regarded.” Still, it is one of two dishes* for which I allow my husband to make an unholy mess in the kitchen. We make it annually for our fall party, and forty of our closest friends affirm it is amazing. He always uses steamed pie pumpkin, but any steamed and pureed winter squash will do the same for the texture, and add an extra flavor dimension.

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2-4 flavorful peppers (ideally poblanos, otherwise whatever flavorful pepper(s) I can get my hands on – no more than 1 jalapeno though)
  • Butter/olive oil/bacon fat
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ~6-8 diced fresh tomatoes
  •  18 oz. pumpkin (or other winter squash) puree
  • 15 oz. dark red kidney beans
  • 15 oz. light red kidney beans
  • 15 oz. pinto beans
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. piminton
  • 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion in butter (and/or bacon fat if you have it) in skillet until translucent. Add diced peppers and then pressed garlic and continue to sauté another 5 mins. or so. Add in ground beef and simmer until beef is browned. Once beef is browned, add in chicken stock, diced tomatoes, beans, pumpkin puree, and seasonings. Cook until hot and thickened, allowing flavors to meld together (about an hour and a half). If it is too thick for your liking, just add more stock ½ cup at a time, allowing it to cook another 15 minutes in between additions until you have the desired consistency.

For vegetarian, skip the beef, use only butter and olive oil to sauté, and use veggie stock rather than chicken.

*The other dish is his cream cheese pastry dough, and the two kinds of holiday cookies he uses it for. Cookies are great, but the leftover dough is AWESOME for wrapping beef wellington or topping chicken pot pie bakes in ramekins. He has a sweet tooth, but I’m a savory girl.

Oven roasted finger sweets

This week’s share is perfect for the roasted root vegetable medley recipe we have shared with summer members. But here is a slightly varied us with a particularly fall flavor.

  • Fingerling potatoes, small ones kept whole and larger ones cut to the size of the smaller ones
  • Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut to the same size as the fingerlings
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dried or fresh herb, such as rosemary or thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss potato pieces with oil, salt, pepper, and herb in a bowl and lay on a baking sheet. Roast for one hour in center oven rack. Check after about forty minutes and stir around or shake. They should get soft before browning, but do not let them burn.

Roasted Vegetable Marinara

Some people have the number of vegetables, the counter space, and the time to do full on canned marinara. I have never been one of those people, but that does’t mean I let extra tomatoes go to waste. This sauce is easy to make in small batches (and includes a number of shortcuts like leaving the skins on and not fretting about the tomato seeds), freezes in a bag for single serving use, AND can make use of any water-heavy vegetable you have on hand. Basically it’s awesome and versitile and you can use it now or later and that’s why we love it. But you have to forgive the lack of measured amounts. It is mostly based on how much there is, how much you want, and preferred taste. Deep breath, and go with it. You will be so glad you did when you are thawing it out in January

  • Tomatoes (big and cherries, any size, core and slice the big ones in half and squish out as much of the seeds as you can, keep the cherries whole)
  • Peppers, seeded and diced
  • Onion, skinned and chopped
  • Basil leaves
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt (pinch or so)
  • Any other mild water-heavy veg like eggplant, squash, zucchini. We’ve even done carrots which adds a great fire, but makes it much thicker than traditional marinara. Just chop them up, peeling if you aren’t into their peels. I especially encourage peeling eggplant.
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Other fresh Italiany herbs as desired
  • Sugar, if you like it sweet (no more than a tablespoon)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss all the veggies MINUS the basil and herbs into a 9 x 13 baking dish, or a couple if you are using a lot, and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic, and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Put the pan(s) in the oven for 30-45 minutes, at least making sure the tomato skins have burst. The longer you cook, the more fragrant, richer, and thicker it will become, but you’ll have to stir a bit more frequently to keep everything just roasted and not charred. Dump the whole roasted mess into a food processor or blender and add the basil leaves (sugar and other fresh herbs if you are so inclued), puree until thouroughly mixed, and either use right away or pour into freezer storage containers to enjoy anytime. If you think it isn’t thick enough, you can always strain out the juice before pureeing and then add it back in incrimentally until you get the desired thickness. Or you can add a can of tomato paste.

Sweet Potato black bean chilli

Farmers get pretty excited when a new variety is fresh for the year, and we have been waiting for sweet potatoes since we planted them in May. This was the first new recipe we tried, and we wound up making it three times in two weeks (once for the Afghani delegates that visited the farm, who proclaimed it perfectly spiced).

  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder (seems like lot, but trust me!)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne (or one chopped fresh if you like it really spicy)
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, OR fresh tomatoes from your share chopped up (the skins won’t matter if you leave them on, but do seed them)
  • ¼ cup brewed coffee
    2 tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • shredded cheddar for topping, if that is your fancy

In a large dutch oven on medium heat, saute the sweet potatoes and onion in the oil until crisp tender. Add the spices and garlic and cook one minute longer. Add beans and tomatoes, coffee, honey, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese, or without. Add thyme as a garnish.

Potato leek soup

  • 2 leeks, chopped up to the dark green sections
  • 1 lb. red potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 qt. vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp. white pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt

In a saucepan, melt butter and add leeks along with a pinch of kosher salt and let them “sweat” for five minutes over medium heat. Decrease heat to medium/low and cook another 25 minutes until leeks are tender. Add potatoes and broth and increase heat to a boil. Once it is boiling, cover and turn back to low, keeping on a simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender, food processor, or using an immersion blender. Add cream, buttermilk, and pepper and stir until combined.

Serve hot or cold!