Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Spooky and Savory Halloween

The weather always seems to dip dramatically as the haunting hour of Halloween approaches in Oklahoma. It's as if the spirits trail into town, tipping the temperatures to make us aware of their icy presence. So how do I combat their cold weather trickery? With warm and spicy treats in the kitchen! And what is more comforting than a bowl of hearty chili, warming your heart,and sedating those ghoulish goosebumps.I have pulled my fair share of tricks in the past during the witching hours of all hallows eve, so this year I think I will just focus on the treats.

Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I was more than thrilled to host on Sunday night. It's always rewarding to entertain and satisfy a big crowd for not a big buck. This recipe is heavy on the flavor and light on the wallet. One thing that I NEVER skimp on however, is the decorating. I admit, it looks like halloween threw up in my house, and we could probably rival a Griswald Christmas, but we are festivous nonetheless.

Chili is a fall/winter crock pot staple in our house, and I always enjoy adding seasonal ingredients to any dish I dish out to you lovely readers. So here it is...a spooking spiced chili concoction I threw together in my bubbling cauldron, "Pumpkin Chicken Chili". Feel free to add more spice, if you dare...

Pumpkin Chicken Chili
•2 tablespoons EVOO
•1 small yellow onion, chopped
•1 orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
•2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 ½ lbs boiled, shredded chicken
•1 (14.5-ounce) can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes (with juice)
•1 (15-ounce) can organic pumpkin purée
•2 cups water
•2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
•3 tablespoons chili powder
•1 teaspoon ground cumin
•Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
•1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
•1 package organic shredded mild cheddar cheese (optional topping)
•Corn tortilla strips (optional topping)

Heat the EVOO in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add your shredded or cooked shredded chicken and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add kidney beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes-1 hour. Ladle chili into bowls and serve. Taste test, and adjust spices to your liking.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, and corn tortilla strips for toppings. I also accompanied mine with my pumpkin corn muffins below.

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