I was invited to a dinner for area PTA Presidents and it was dubbed as a Chili Cook Off, although a very low key one. I had seen this awesome looking recipe at Hungry Little Girl for Pumpkin Caramel Chili, and decided I must try it. I always seem to make my chili the same way and I was ready for a change. Here is my variation of Hungry Little Girl’s recipe. I am never exact with my recipes, so feel free to adapt as you see fit.
2 pounds of ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
5 cans of beans (I used 2 light red kidney beans, 1 mild chili beans, 1 great northern bean, & 1 butter bean)
tomatoes (I used 1 can diced, 1 can of sauce, 1 can of Ro*Tel)
1 bottle of chili sauce
1 can pumpkin
caramel (1 used a dollop…maybe 3 Tablespoons)
pumpkin pie spice
salt & pepper
hot sauce (I used Chalula)
Brown the meat, onion, & garlic together and drain off the fat. Add all the ingredients. Mine was thick so I added 2 chili bottles worth of water to thin it out. I used a little over a Tablespoon of chili powder, salt & pepper, and then a few shakes of pumpkin pie spice & hot sauce.
I cleaned out a pumpkin and heated it upside down in a roaster pan with a few inches of water for 30 minutes at 350 and served the chili out of it. My husband tasted it before I left and was determined to hate it. He surprisingly said it was very good. I really like the combination of the sweet & spicy. Since the cook-off was informal, people mostly brought their chili in crock pots. The pumpkin garnered a lot of attention and was voted as the favorite. I will definitely make this again (with no adjustments) and will take it to any cook-offs I attend.