Pumpkin chili with goat and black beans

Today I made chili without a recipe for the first time ever. I had a sugar pumpkin and ground goat meat in the house already, so I started with those and made up the rest. It turned out so good, I just had to share. Chili is flexible so you can always add or subtract some veggies for others, and substitute any chop meat you have or keep it veggie! Just play around with the spices and liquid level to suit your tastes. Here’s a good starting point:

Pumpkin chili with goat and black beans

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground goat meat
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 diced hot chili
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp each: garlic powder, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper
28 oz diced tomatoes
~1 cup broth (any kind, I used chicken)
~2 cups cooked pumpkin (I just used 1 whole roasted sugar pumpkin here but you could use canned)
2 16 oz cans of beans (any kind, I used black beans)

Roast 1 whole sugar pumpkin in the oven on 350F for ~1.25 hours. Place a baking sheet under the pumpkin on the rack below in case it leaks. Remove pumpkin from oven and slice in half to let it cool. Then, remove seeds (keep them to roast or just toss) and scoop out the pulp into a bowl. Mash it with a fork until smooth.

In the meantime, heat ~1 tbsp olive oil in a pot and brown your meat. When cooked, remove meat from the pan and drain the fat. Set meat aside. In the same pan, saute all the veggies 5-10 minutes until soft. Add in the spices and cook a few more minutes.

Add the meat back into the pot with the veggies, along with the diced tomatoes, broth and pumpkin puree. Bring to a slow boil and then simmer uncovered on low for 1-2 hours. Stir every so often. Mix in beans during the last few minutes of cooking just to heat them through.

Serve over white rice and enjoy!

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Ordinary kitchens

This year, I had two major “aha!” moments, both while driving and both related to food. Out of the first, back in January, came the topic for my master’s thesis. The second, which happened today, gave me the idea for my next project. It’s called “Ordinary Kitchens,” and will chronicle the stories behind the best dishes I have encountered in the homes of my friends and family.

my-ordinary-kitchen
my ordinary kitchen

You see, on my journey to learn everything there is to know about food, I’ve jumped around a lot:

I’ve tried to figure out what I really want to learn and why.

I’ve been both light hearted and serious in my approach.

I’ve created a recipe blog and studied food policy at the graduate level.

I’ve waded through serious and paralyzing self doubt.

I’ve questioned whether or not I can make a positive impact on a food system that doesn’t work the way I’d like it to.

I’ve tried to decide if I should cook or write, or go to culinary school or get a Phd.

Here’s what I know: food is the starting point of everything else in life. It’s as simple and complex as we are. It’s what we make of it. Not a day goes by where we don’t think about it and touch it and plan around it. Because of that, there is knowledge and richness to be soaked up absolutely everywhere.

So, I am enrolling myself in cooking school by taking the time to discover the hidden secrets in all the ordinary kitchens in my life. Then, I’ll share what I find out here. If one instant driving in the car can be so life-altering, imagine how far preparing an entire meal can take us.