Sneakily delicious dishes that bring all the omnivores to the yard! Look for the cookbook in 2010!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pumpkin Mole Chili w/ Chipotle Creme and Homemade Cornbread Croutons

I really generally hate chili. There's just something so...yucky about it. I think it's the chalky awful chili powder that most people use, or the overabundance of random veggies that people seem to throw into vegetarian chili {causing the chili to lose all focus}.

However, I can't resist a competition, and when I was invited to participate in a chili cookoff today, I knew I had to change my feelings toward chili, and fast. I looked at dozens of chili recipes, deconstructing them, determining what I disliked about chili, and rethinking the whole concept of this comfort food favorite.

I came up with Pumpkin Mole Chili w/ Chipotle Creme and Homemade Cornbread Croutons. Despite being the only vegan chili in the cookoff {and me being the only vegan in the whole slew of people there}, my chili won! It was amazing, if I do say so myself. Spicy, smoky, rich, deep, and complex -- everything you'd hope for in a man, now in chili form! heh And, because I'm so very nice, I will share my recipes with you here.

Pumpkin Mole Chili
Serves 6 - 8

1 medium sugar pumpkin {sometimes called pie pumpkins}, peeled, seeded, and diced
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
12 oz vegan crumbles {I used Boca Ground Crumbles}
4 1/2 cups red kidney beans {3 15oz cans drained and rinsed}
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 - 2 cups of vegetarian broth, depending on desired consistency {I used Better-Than-Bullion No Beef broth}
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tbsp pureed chipotle in adobo {more or less, to taste}
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Toss the diced pumpkin with one tbsp of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes or until tender, stirring every 10 minutes.

2. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and cook until golden and starting to caramelize. Add ground crumbles and cook until browned.

3. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, pumpkin puree, chipotle in adobo, cocoa powder, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a bubbling simmer, and check for seasoning. Lower the heat to medium low, and let simmer for 30 - 45 minutes to blend flavors.

4. Stir in diced roasted pumpkin, and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 10 more minutes, until pumpkin is heated through. Serve immediately.

Tip: When I'm roasting the pumpkin, I like to roast a second whole pumpkin, split down the middle and covered with foil. Then I can use the second pumpkin for the pumpkin puree called for in the recipe. It's much fresher and tastes better than canned pumpkin.

Chipotle Creme

1 1/2 cups vegan sour cream {I used Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream}
1 tbsp pureed chipotle in adobo, or more, to taste

Swirl the chipotle puree through the sour cream so it's streaked but not fully stirred in. You can stir it in all the way, but it turns kind of an unappealing shade of pink.

Cornbread Croutons

1 recipe cornbread {I like this recipe because it doesn't rise much, is quite dense, and holds together well}, baked and cooled
2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the cornbread into small cubes, about 1".
2. Toss the cornbread cubes with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread evenly in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking pan.
3. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes, until crispy, tossing every 10 - 15 minutes.


  1. congrats on the win! i am so proud of you. it looks delicious and i'm quite a chili connoisseur. the croutons are the perfect touch. much thanks for sharing the kick-ass recipe as well!

  2. That's so awesome, congrats! This better be in the cookbook. I better get to test this. There are so many things I want to make, and now this!

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