Pumpkin lovers, rejoice! Starbucks is giving you your spicy coffee fix early this year because, apparently, we can’t get enough things with pumpkin flavors. (You do know that there’s no actual pumpkin in those lattes, right? Or in those new pumpkin spice latte M&Ms? That’d be pretty gross.)
But I have a dish for you that actually contains pumpkin, and it’s not muffins or lattes or pie. It’s chili! Bison Pumpkin Chili!
Pumpkin is a great flavor stretcher for stews and sauces. It’s mildly flavored, full of fiber and antioxidants and low in calories. A half cup of canned pumpkin (not pie filling) is only 50 calories, and it provides 3 grams of fiber, a gram of protein and 200 percent of your vitamin A for the day. So you can either replace the beans in your chili with pumpkin and cut some calories, or add pumpkin to your existing recipe to sneak in more vegetables and fiber.
I usually add beans to my chili, but I found myself beanless and with a pantry full of pumpkin. Who has pumpkin in their pantry all summer? This girl. My local Whole Foods was moving to a new location early this year and I happened upon a case of canned pumpkin for 75 percent off. Since it doesn’t expire until December of next year, I figured it was a good buy.
The slight sweetness of the pumpkin blends wonderfully with the smoky warmth of chili spices, and ground bison gives you the hearty meatiness of ground beef with a lot fewer calories and fat. To compare, 4 ounces of ground round has 240 calories and 17 grams of fat (7 grams of that saturated fat) while the same amount of ground bison has 190 calories and 11 grams of fat (4 grams sat fat). Another thing bison provides is omega-3 fats because, like grass-fed beef, buffalo feed on the leafy, green stuff. You also can use ground turkey or chicken.
I cooked this batch on the stove but this can also work great in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, if you add a little extra liquid in the way of broth or stock.
Since this chili isn’t very “carby,” it’s great served over rice or quinoa — even sliced polenta.