Fall has arrived and all things pumpkin spiced come in tow. Lattes aside, the unofficial flavor of fall lends itself nicely to a wild game chili. The savory pumpkin puree adds substantial body to this classic MeatEater’s dish, while the mild undertones of cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, & cocoa round it out in a familiar yet unexpected way. All these flavors came together in this particular batch without overwhelming the flavor of the moose that Janis brought back for the MeatEater crew from an Alaskan hunt with Steve & his dad, story to come in January 2017. For more on this particular moose, listen to the MeatEater podcast here. –Nicole Qualtieri, Social Media Community Manager
1-1.5 lbs wild game meat of choice
1 15-oz can of pinto beans
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1 onion, diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped*
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-1.5 tbsp chili powder (see note below)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp clove powder
2 cups beef broth
Salt & pepper to taste
Warm olive oil on stove, then sauté meat until brown. Remove the meat from the pan but leave the drippings, then sauté onions & garlic in drippings until translucent. Add a little more oil if needed. Be sure to salt & pepper both the meat and the onions while browning.
Once the onions are translucent, add the meat back into the pan, along with pumpkin, beans, tomatoes, broth, chipotles*, and spices.
Bring to boil, then simmer for an hour. Keep an eye on the consistency, the pumpkin thickens the chili a good amount. I added about a half cup more broth to mine & some of the adobo sauce from the peppers about 30 minutes in as my stove runs a bit hot.
Serve with your favorite chili accoutrement. Most people go for the classic cheese & sour cream, I prefer an egg over easy with fresh chopped jalapeño & habanero peppers for kick. If you’re a fan of spice, don’t skip out on the habaneros; they add a sweetness to this dish that really complements the fall notes.
*If you’re cooking for kids or spice-wary adults, you can omit these peppers. They add a significant kick to this dish. If you do omit these, I’d add in the half tbsn more chili powder to compensate for the flavor difference.