If you recall, we are Halloween enthusiasts, and it’s a bit of a gut punch to know that my main costume conspirators are too old to collaborate on outfits anymore. When I started writing this blog, we were in the thick of the dress up days, and while I do know they’ll come around again with Matthew, I miss the chaos the comes with getting the older boys ready for candy collecting.
On Saturday night I did help Ben DIY a last-minute look for a Halloween party - the kind that was more likely to serve beer than Mr. Big bars - and I grabbed a box of our favourite fun size treats for our near-nightly episodes of Stranger Things this week, proving to myself that Halloween is still fun these days despite being different. Of course, I haven’t forgot about the fire-breathing, taco-eating dragon that lives here. He’s venturing out tonight with two older brothers and a girlfriend in tow, and while I expect that we’ll be wandering the streets for no more than 20 minutes, it’s exciting in its own way, too.
The one thing that hasn’t changed about our Halloweens is the big pot of beef, bean and pumpkin chili that we devour before the candy collecting commences. Part of me has always hoped the meat and beans would fill up the kids enough that they don’t feel like consuming too many Mars bars (no such luck), while the other part makes this strictly for the adults in need of enough sustenance to enjoy another year of trick or treating. I almost always make this a day in advance, a cooking technique that should really be applied to all chilis, and while it reheats and the kids chill out, I prep a bunch of toppings to make it a meal everyone gets excited about.
Obviously, this recipe shouldn’t be strictly reserved for Halloween night. I make it all fall long, especially when I bake with pumpkin and end up with cup or so of leftover purée. I’ve even been known to make a batch on Sunday – it’s a super quick-cooking chili – and portion it into lidded containers for a week’s worth of high school lunches. A classic chili with a twist should be a staple in everyone’s regular recipe repertoire.
Beef, Bean and Pumpkin Chili
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cans (540 mL each) red kidney beans
- 1 can (796 mL) crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 cup pumpkin pureé
- 1 cup beef stock, beer or water
1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring often and using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the onions; cook for an additional 2 minutes.
2. Sprinkle with chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the beans, tomatoes, pumpkin and beef stock and bring to a low boil, stirring often.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check seasonings and adjust, if desired. Serve hot.