Pork, Pumpkin, and Black Bean Chili

This time of year there’s nothing I love more than a meal I only have to make once that will feed us for days on end. Even if the prep or cook time is a little longer than I’d typically prefer to spend on a meal, it’s totally worth it when I can get dinner on the table in 10 minutes or less on subsequent days. And the best part of all? Clean-up is a breeze when you’re simply reheating leftovers! As much as I love cooking and baking, washing dishes is a chore that’s right up there with cleaning the bathroom on my “things I’d rather pay someone else to do” list 🙂

Pork, Pumpkin, and Black Bean Chili

Of course this “cook once, eat many times” strategy only works if the meal actually reheats well. Rubbery and/or soggy leftovers do not make good eats, I don’t care how much time I can save on cooking or clean-up… Fortunately, a ton of our favorite fall meals not only reheat well, many of them even taste better the next day! Chili is a perfect example; a night in the fridge gives the flavors a chance to meld and makes an already great chili even more amazing.

Pork, Pumpkin, and Black Bean Chili

We have quite a few go-to chili recipes, but this Pork, Pumpkin, and Black Bean Chili is my new favorite. It’s the first time I’ve made a chili using pork shoulder, but it won’t be the last. Pork shoulder is one of those meats that is usually best cooked low and slow, but cut into small cubes, it’s perfectly tender and flavorful after only about an hour of cook time. The pumpkin was a nice surprise in here too – it lends not only great color to the chili, but an earthy quality that I loved. You won’t get a lot of pumpkin flavor in the chili itself, but the pumpkin cream topping fills that void nicely.

The recipe is highly adaptable – add extra chipotle peppers to give the chili more heat, skip the beans (they weren’t in the original recipe, I added them), use a different type of bean, vary the type of beer you use, etc. Make a big pot of this pork, pumpkin, and black bean chili to enjoy while watching football on Sunday then enjoy the leftovers for dinner on Monday and Tuesday – it’s a win, win!

Pork, Pumpkin, and Black Bean Chili
adapted from Food Network

{Note: this chili is not spicy as the recipe is written. If you want a spicier result, use one or two additional chipotle peppers and/or leave the seeds in your poblano.}

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup sour cream (light is fine)
3 lb boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (12 oz) bottle Mexican lager
2 cups water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
3 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 medium onions, diced
1/4 cup chili powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can black beans
Lime wedges, for serving

To make the topping: combine 3 tablespoons of the pumpkin and the sour cream in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt then cover and chill in the refrigerator.

Add the pork, beer, water, and 2 teaspoons of the salt to a large Dutch oven. Set over medium to medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, skimming the foam off the surface as you do. When the mixture reaches a simmer, stir in the chipotle pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oregano, then cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, set a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil to the pan, and when it shimmers, throw in the tomatoes, poblano, onion, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 15 minutes (the mixture will get watery as the veggies release their liquid). Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, the chili powder, and the garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining pumpkin and cook the mixture for another 5 minutes – it will be quite thick.

When the pork has simmered for 30 minutes, add the veggie/pumpkin mixture to the Dutch oven with it. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes, or until the pork is very tender. (I simmered uncovered since the chili was still on thin side, but if yours starts to look too thick, you can throw the cover on for some of the cooking time). When the meat is tender, add the beans and cook 10 more minutes. Season the chili to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the pumpkin cream and garnished with lime wedges.

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