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One Pot Meal: Pumpkin Chicken Chili

Updated on October 5, 2015

Fall Flavors

There's something about the crisp fall air and the colder weather that inspires heartier meals. You know, stuff to "stick to your ribs" as my Grandfather used to say. When I think of hearty meals, I think of meat and vegetables slow simmered in a rich sauce. Soups, stews, and of course...chili.

This recipe is adapted from one I stumbled across a couple years ago while looking for ways to incorporate fall flavors into a dish I could compete at an upcoming Chili Cookoff. It's a terrific blend of seasonal spices and flavors, and with a lean protein as the primary ingredient, it's not overly indulgent on your waistline. Just, you know, try not to eat the whole pot yourself.

Capsaicin: Optional
Capsaicin: Optional

A Little Spice is Nice

While spicy is not really something we think of when we think comfort food, this is still a chili recipe, so of course we want to have the option for a little heat. The heat in this recipe comes from the inclusion of Jalapeño peppers. What's nice about these peppers is that you can prepare them a couple different ways to modify the impact and flavor it imparts into your dish. Jalapeños are chock full of Vitamins A and C and other antioxidants, but also contain what's called Capsaicin.

You know when you eat a hot pepper and your eyes water and your nose runs? That physiological response is a result of capsaicin. It's what brings the heat. Enough heat that it's actually used in topical ointments for heat therapy of muscle aches and pain.

In a jalapeño, the capsaicin is concentrated in the seeds and the white membrane surrounding them called the "pith". Therefore if you want to really spice things up in recipes that call for jalapeños, leave the pith and seeds intact with the green flesh of the pepper. Alternatively, you can remove the pith and seeds and still enjoy the flavor of the jalapeño, but with much less heat to it.

And if you're looking for something more on the sweet and savory side, simply leave the jalapenos out entirely. We won't judge you!

Prep & Simmer Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 5 hours 30 min
Ready in: 6 hours
Yields: 6 1/2 Quarts

Pumpkin Chicken Chili

  • 4 lbs. Ground Chicken
  • 2 cans Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 large White Onion, diced
  • 2 large Orange/Yellow Peppers, diced
  • 3 medium-sized Jalapenos, diced (seeds/pith optional)
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes, 28 oz.
  • 1 can Tomato Paste, 6 oz.
  • 1 bottle Pumpkin Seasonal Beer, 12 oz.
  • 1 tbsp. Minced Garlic
  • 3 tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley Flakes
  • 1 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 whole Cinnamon Stick


  1. Turn crock pot up to high, add 1 tbsp. of coconut oil, and cover.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. of coconut oil, and saute garlic, onions, jalapenos, and peppers for 5 minutes.
  3. After the oil in the crock pot has begun to melt and while the vegetables are sauteing, add pumpkin puree, diced tomatoes (including juice), and tomato paste to crock pot. Stir thoroughly and cover.
  4. Brown the chicken over medium-high heat in the same skillet, being sure to grind/chop into bite-sized chunks. Remove from heat and stir into crock pot.
  5. Take a sip of beer, savor, and pour the rest into the crock pot. Stir thoroughly.
  6. With the added liquid now in the crock pot, measure out and stir in your remaining spices: chili powder, pumpkin pie spice, parsley, cocoa powder, coriander, and sea salt.
  7. Add a single cinnamon stick on top of the chili and cover. Set timer for 5 hours 30 minutes.
  8. Cook covered and on high, stirring occasionally, until you begin to see a low boil along the sides. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for the remaining time, stirring occasionally.
  9. Serve straight up or over white rice and enjoy!

Pro Tip: Patience is a Virtue

Something unique about chili, as well as other dishes that blend lots of ingredients and spices, is that they actually get better with a little age. No, seriously, they do. For an explanation of why this happens, and for another awesome chili recipe, check out my Hawaiian Pork Chili hub. That said, if you can stand to postpone diving into this for 24 hours, I highly recommend refrigerating this overnight, and serving it the following evening.

You mean to tell me I should spend 6 hours making this and not even eat it???

Not necessarily. The long simmering time for this recipe is to allow for all the flavors to come together. For spices to blend and infuse with meat and vegetables. However, if you opt to refrigerate overnight before serving, it's much less crucial to cook for so long initially because you'll simmering it the next day to warm it back up.

To refrigerate to perfection...

  1. Cook on high for 3 hours, stirring occasionally
  2. Refrigerate overnight
  3. Cook on low, simmering for 2-3 hours, before serving
  4. Enjoy!

If you tried this recipe and enjoyed it, please feel free to rate it and leave your comments below!

Cast your vote for Pumpkin Chicken Chili


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