The recipe for my Gluten-free Pumpkin (Sweet Potato) Ale Chili came to be because of a little bribery and well-intentioned pleading to my smallest recipe testers in the house. As much as my husband and I love a nice warm bowl of chili on a cold blustery day, my kids have never jumped onto our two-man chili train. And because I am always determined to make meals that we all will enjoy, I had to do some re-configuring of my old stand-by recipe to add some creative touches that might get those two on board and allow all of us the opportunity to cuddle by the fire with our piping bowls of chili-goodness.
I was trying to think of some winter flavors to include that were already a sure hit with my boys. Pumpkin was the first thing that came to mind since I can throw it into just about anything with the confidence of knowing it will get consumed by them. Pumpkin has gone into my pancakes (turning them into Apple-Cider Pumpkin Pancakes), my Oatmeal Cake, my waffles (turning them into Pumpkin Pie Waffles), my risotto, my granola (recipe to come), and anything else that does not seem too obscure (and even then, it is still sometimes worth a shot..). I have grown to learn that they happily consume, without question, all things orange.
Although, I may be re-thinking my pumpkin approach considering the answer my three year old gave the other day to someone who asked what his favorite color was. His response? “Orange, just like all of my food.”
Since I am not yet ready to totally give up that pumpkin, I will at least stick with that antioxidant-rich winter squash for at least one more recipe (oh, who am I kidding? I will not give it up). But, I figured I would have to add one more alluring ingredient to turn my old chili recipe into a dish that would please my little critics. Easy enough. A second favorite vegetable of theirs is the Hannah Sweet, a golden fleshed sweet potato (read here for the differences in the varieties of sweet potatoes and yams). I normally dice and roast them with a bit of olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. It is one of those side dishes that they actually ask for on a pretty regular basis. I thought this sweet flavored root vegetable would be a perfect addition to the chili, along with a dash of cinnamon to complement them.
So…I went with it. And here is the dish that ensued. I will happily tell you that it was actually not met with any resistance at all from my boys, nor from my husband (maybe thanks to the 12 oz of Green’s Gluten Free Beer I added). I served it up with cornbread and everyone happily finished their bowls. Because I had to go light on the spice factor for the kids, I gave my husband the bottle of Chipotle Tabasco sauce and a bowl of diced jalapenos to spice his portion up as desired. For the kids and myself, I topped our bowls with some squeezes of fresh lime, a dollop of plain greek yogurt, and some diced avocados.
The pumpkin made the chili amazingly creamy and smooth. The sweet potatoes added a perfect surprise of sweetness that went nicely with the subtle hint of cinnamon. And the beer added a richness and a layered depth to the dish. This may not be your typical chili, but I can honestly say that it now our family’s new favorite way to eat it!
This is being included in Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Texas Start Chili Round-up Contest she is hosting this month. There are some amazing entries right now that you really should check out (after you make this one, of course).
Pumpkin (Sweet Potato) Ale Chili:
1 1/2 pound Italian Sausage (Sweet or Hot)
2 Tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed to reduce heat (peppers are optional)
8-10 cloves garlic, finely minced
12 oz gluten-free beer (such as Green’s, Bard’s, New Grist, or Redbridge)
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp cumin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups organic pureed pumpkin
8 oz organic tomato paste
3 cups organic gluten free beef or chicken broth(or Homemade Bone Broth)
28 oz canned organic diced tomatoes
1 – 15 oz can organic cannellini beans
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 avocado, peeled and chopped (for garnish)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain greek-style yogurt – dairy based or dairy-free (for garnish)
2 limes cut into wedges for squeezing juice into chili (for garnish)
1/4 cup red or green onion, diced (for garnish)
1/4 cup cheese – dairy or dairy-free, shredded (for garnish)
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
1. Saute sausage in large pan with oil until brown.
2. Remove meat from pan and drain drippings.
3. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat bottom
4. Add onion, jalapeno (optional), and sweet potato and saute for 8 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, saute 1 minute, stirring constantly
5. Stir in beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil.
6. Cook until liquid almost evaporates (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Stir in paprika, cumin, cinnamon, pumpkin, and tomato paste. Cook 1 minute stirring frequently.
7. Add sausage back to the pan with broth, tomatoes and beans, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until mixture is thick. Stirring occasionally.
8. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
9. Spoon into bowls and garnish each bowl with your choice of garnishes.
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