Beef, Black Bean And Pumpkin Chili

This savory beef, black bean, and pumpkin chili is layered with sweet and savory ingredients, which makes it unlike your typical bean chili. It’s the perfect stew for a cool autumn day or even as a dip for salty tortilla chips. 

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Why Pumpkin And Black Bean 

I went on a bit of a pumpkin kick recently. I started seeing loads of fresh pumpkin at our local market in Spain. The way they display produce in Spain would make any hearty carnivore begin eating veg. I started to think about all of the tasty pumpkin recipes I could make. 

Of course, we try to add beans to as many recipes as possible. That’s the purpose of the food blog. And pumpkin and black beans go so well together. There’s something about the sweetness of the pumpkin and texture of the black beans. 

I also know that this recipe works because Eric couldn’t wait to ask for seconds. I thought we would eat half the chili and put the rest in the freezer. We never got that far.

There were just so many layers to this chili recipe making it totally different from any, typical Southwestern chili. I think he fell in love.

Beef Black Bean And Pumpkin Chili
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Check out our other pumpkin recipes: 

Harissa-Spiked Moroccan Stew With Pumpkins And Chickpeas

Sweet And Savory Moroccan Pumpkin Soup With Chickpeas

Creamy Pumpkin Hummus Dip

Black bean pumpkin chili

Pumpkin And Black Bean Chili

I know there are chili traditionalists out there who have one definition of chili. Our friend Drew is one. He says that anything other than a beef chili should be called a bean stew or a Texas stew. 

I don’t think there is one way to make chili. For me, it’s any savory combination of beans and meat that is what we call “sporkable.”

Yes, we actually own sporks. They were a gift and we use them more than forks. We use our sporks for soups, stews, and pasta dishes. This chili is entirely sporkable.

Eric makes traditional bean chili a lot, at least once a month. I love it. But, this version kind of breaks the mold of traditional chili. Eric was skeptical but fell in love. And, it’s another use for pumpkin. 

Want something quick and easy? Check out this Instant Pot Black Bean Chili Recipe With Beef.

chili with black beans

Ingredients For Pumpkin And Black Bean Chili With Beef

I feel like I don’t want to share my secret chili ingredient until the end! This chili starts typical, by cooking diced onion, garlic, and ground beef in olive oil.

The beef is then seasoned with cumin and cayenne pepper. The pumpkin, black beans, and beef are then cooked in chicken broth until tender and soft. A little tomato paste at the end adds a little needed acidity. 

Then comes the secret ingredient – cocoa powder. Just a tad to add a little extra layer of natural sweetness. It’s what makes this black bean chili taste so good and left Eric wondering why he liked it so much. I think it was the subtle chocolate flavor. 

cooking beef in chili
Cooking the beef with seasonings
cooking black beans and pumpkin
Adding pumpkin and beans to the cooked beef
Using chicken broth in chili
Adding the chicken broth to the chili

How To Make Chili With Pumpkin And Black Bean

Place a medium to large size dutch oven on medium-high heat. We have a Le Creuset 5 Quart dutch oven that we love for stews, soups, and chili. You can buy it on Amazon here.

Once warm, add the olive oil. When the olive oil is warm add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion starts to yellow about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the ground beef. Break up the ground beef into pieces and stir until the beef is fully cooked. Using a mix and chop (like this one) helps to break up the beef easier than a wooden spoon.

Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to help season the beef. Be sure to coat the beef in the seasoning while it cooks.

Add the diced pumpkin and black beans and stir until everything is mixed and coated. Add the chicken broth and the cocoa powder and stir.

Bring to a slight boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for about one hour. Stir occasionally and make sure nothing sticks. If needed add a little more broth to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom.

Just before it is ready, add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Taste the chili and add salt and pepper if needed. 

Serve the chili with sour cream and avocado to make it feel little more like traditional chili.

Yield: 4 servings

Beef Black Bean And Pumpkin Chili

Beef Black Bean And Pumpkin Chili

This sweet and savory beef, black bean and pumpkin chili includes sweet pumpkin and cocoa powder with spicy cayenne pepper.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups of pumpkin, cut into bite-sized piecees
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, undrained and not rinsed
  • 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    1. Place a medium to a large size dutch oven on medium-high heat. Once warm, add the olive oil.
    2. When the olive oil is warm add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion starts to yellow, about 2 to 3 minutes.
    3. Add the ground beef. Break up the ground beef into pieces and stir until the beef is fully cooked, about 3 to 5 minutes.
    4. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to help season the beef.
    5. Add the diced pumpkin and black beans and stir until everything is mixed and coated.
    6. Add the chicken broth and the cocoa powder and stir. Bring to a slight boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for about one hour.
    7. Stir occasionally and make sure nothing sticks. If needed add a little more broth.
    8. Just before it is ready, add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Taste the chili and add salt and pepper if needed. 

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Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 552Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 101mgSodium 209mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 13gSugar 6gProtein 44g

This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.

Did you make this recipe?

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Modifications And Variations

I used ground beef in this recipe to make it more similar to how Eric likes his chili. But you can also substitute ground pork or turkey in the pumpkin black bean chili to cut back on the beef. 

You can also use butternut squash instead of pumpkin if it is more readily accessible.

Or, use a pumpkin puree to make the chili more creamy. In this case, you won’t have the sweet pumpkin chunks, but the chili will be super soft and silky. This is also a great variation if your kids like chili but not fruits and vegetables, this is a great way to sneak some in.

If you like your chili smoky, add a teaspoon of chipotle chili powder or a squeeze of chipotle paste. If you add the smokiness, add a bit more cocoa powder to offset the spice. 

If you have a small amount of leftovers, you can serve the black bean chili with tortilla chips to make it a scoopable dip.

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