What better way to spend the weekend than immersed in pumpkin cookery? I have a trio of pumpkin recipes: one savory and two sweet. There is something for everyone here; a rich, spicy turkey chili, a moist, dark gingerbread cake, and candied spiced pumpkin seeds (that are a perfect garnish for the cake, by the way).
The chili is made with dark-meat turkey, but if you prefer, you could substitute boneless, skinless, chicken thighs. The pumpkin puree blends right in and gives the chili a smooth texture. It’s the perfect foil for the spicy components of the dish. The gingerbread takes a basic recipe and adds pumpkin and a crumbly, streusel-like topping. It’s a moist, dark cake that is absolute perfection with a dollop of maple-sweetened whipped cream.
And those sweet, spicy, and crunchy pumpkin seeds add just the right extra crunch to the cake. They are great for snacking on as well. And you can make them in only five minutes, really! And the best news about the chili and gingerbread recipes…each one uses an entire can of pumpkin puree (you’re welcome). No more little bits of pumpkin sitting at the back of the fridge, turning into a science experiment. So, let the pumpkin party begin, and have a great weekend!
Turkey Pumpkin Chili
- 2 slices thick-cut , smoky bacon, diced
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless , skinless turkey thigh meat, cut into 1/2-inch dice (or substitute chicken)*
- 1 medium yellow onion , diced
- 1 medium green pepper , seeded and diced
- 2 large cloves garlic , peeled and minced
- 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers , minced (taste and assess the intensity of heat before adding the second pepper)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more, as required, to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotle chiles)
- 1 14- ounce can whole tomatoes with their juice
- 1 15- ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1 cup chicken stock , or water
- 1 can black beans , drained and rinsed
- The juice of a fresh lime
- Chili garnishes: sour cream , cilantro, cheddar cheese, avocado, red onion (optional)
Place a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the diced bacon and cook until just beginning to crisp and the fat has rendered. With a slotted spoon remove the bacon to a small plate and set aside. Add the diced turkey meat to the pot and saute until all the pieces of turkey have lost their pink color and are beginning to brown. Remove to a plate and set aside. If the pot seems dry add a splash of olive oil, then add the onion, green pepper, garlic, and jalapeno pepper(s). Add a large pinch of salt and saute the vegetables until they soften. Add the spices, adobo sauce and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and continue to cook and stir until the mixture is fragrant.
Add the browned turkey back to the pot and add the tomatoes, crushing with your hands, the pumpkin puree, and the stock (water). Stir well, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the rinsed black beans and the crispy diced bacon and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
Check the chili for seasoning, adding the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and the lime juice. Adjust the seasonings to your taste with more salt, acid, or spice. Serve with your favorite chili garnishes.
*The chili could be made with leftover, diced turkey thigh and leg meat. If you choose this option, add the diced cooked turkey with the beans, for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
Inspired by and adapted from: Whole Foods Turkey Pumpkin Chili
- 3 cups all -purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup diced , candied ginger
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
- 1 16- ounce can pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup light molasses
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Candied Pumpkin Seeds (see link below for recipe)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch square, round, or springform pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, spices, and candied ginger. Cut in the butter pieces with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form. Measure and set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture for the topping.
In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, molasses, buttermilk, and baking soda with a whisk. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and stir together just until moistened. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl for any dry flour, and gently stir it in.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle evenly with the reserved crumb topping. Bake in the center of the oven until the top is firm and a cake tester comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack. Serve warm with the lightly whipped, maple syrup-sweetened cream and a sprinkling of candied pumpkin seeds, if you like.
You can find the recipe for the Candied Pumpkin Seeds here.