Nothing tastes better on a cool fall day than a bowl full of chili. We used black eyed peas and of course, pumpkin, to add a twist to this traditional comfort food. Sprinkled with some freshly roasted pumpkin seeds and served with a side of our classic cornbread, this chili makes a great Halloween eve dinner or even a new dish to serve for your Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration.
Never heard of Día de los Muertos? Although it is sometimes thought of as the Latin American version of Halloween, it’s actually very different.
While Halloween was traditionally a time to ward off evil spirits by setting out hollowed pumpkins (jack o’lanterns), Día de los Muertos welcomes the spirits of loved ones who have passed with a 2-day celebratory feast.
During this time, families honor the deceased with ofrendas (altars) decorated with candles, marigolds, calaveras (sugar skulls), personal items, and the favorite food and drink of the departed.
One traditional treat made for the Día de los Muertos celebration is Calabaza en tacha (candied pumpkin).
Read more about this delicious treat and how the chefs of “La Casita Mexicana” use it to honor their loved ones: https://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-dia-de-los-muertos-20151031-story.html
To make this recipe you’ll need:
- 1- 3 pound pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
- 1 ½ pounds tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 pound black eyed peas, fresh*
- 4 cups vegetable stock
Heat oven to 400℉ (200℃).
Slice the pumpkin in half, from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp and set aside. (You can save the seeds to roast them later. Check out this video. to see how.)
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto the flesh of each pumpkin half. Place each half, cut side down, onto a lined baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove the pumpkin halves from the oven, set aside and let cool.
While the pumpkin is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot, cooking for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic, poblano pepper, and jalapeño pepper (if using), and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the black eyed peas and vegetable stock, and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the chili is simmering, scoop out the pumpkin flesh from the cooled pumpkin halves. (You can either leave the pumpkin in chunks or puree it using an immersion blender.)
After the chili has been simmering for 30 minutes, add the pumpkin and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until the black eyed peas are tender. Remove the chili from the heat.
To serve, drizzle with crème fraîche, fresh, chopped cilantro, and roasted pumpkin seeds.
- *This chili also tastes great with a side of cornbread. You can check out that recipe and more in our Wholeheartedly Cookbook.
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