Fall comfort food doesn't get cozier than this pumpkin and chorizo chili! Made with tender, flavorful chunks of chorizo and creamy pumpkin puree, this seasonal chili blends together warm fall spices with just the right kick of heat. Your ultimate fall meal is here.
Chili season has returned, and I can't think of a better way to welcome this time of year than a chili that's bursting with fall flavor. This pumpkin chili gets its heat from a paste made from dried chiles and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a smoky touch, but then we also add some allspice, cloves and a cinnamon stick to give a deeper complexity and richer flavor.
With one taste, I have no doubt you'll agree this chili is fall in a bowl.
How to Make
To start on our chili, we first make our chile paste. We do this by simmering our some dried chiles in beef stock until then soften and then blend with some chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. And just like that, we have our paste.
I know a lot of recipes simply use chili powder, and I get it. Dumping in chili powder is quicker than taking the time to make a paste. I've tasted and even made chilis with chili powder, and while they are tasty, those chilis aren't as good as those made with a paste. I wouldn't recommend this step if I didn't find the extra effort worth it.
That said, I generally use about 3 ½ tablespoons of dried chili powder when I have used it in past chilis. I haven't tested this particular recipe with chili powder, but that's what I would do if I veered off the recipe.
Now we cook our chorizo until it browns, remove it from the pot and cook our onion and garlic.
We stir in some beef stock and coffee and use a wooden spoon to help scrape up those chorizo bits from the pot. The chorizo goes back into the pot along with our dried chile paste as well as the pumpkin puree, diced tomatoes, cinnamon stick, cocoa powder, molasses, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, Mexican oregano, cayenne pepper, coriander, cloves and allspice.
Cocoa powder and molasses might sound a little funny if you've never made chili, but trust me on these additions. They add a depth to the chili, and the molasses will not result in a sweet chili. Promise.
Now we let the chili work its magic in the pot. Rather than keep the chili fully covered while simmering, I like to leave the lid slightly cracked. This allows the chili develop an even better flavor as well as reduce, so we don't have to bother with any thickeners.
In the last 10 minutes of cooking, I like to add a couple cans of cannellini beans and then a big squeeze of lime before turning off the heat. When I make my authentic Texas chili, adding beans is a hard no-no, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy beans in some styles of chili. I like the creamy bite cannellini beans add, especially with the pumpkin, but you're more than welcome to leave out the beans if you're Team No Beans.
Ideas for Serving Chili
Obviously, no chili is complete without a side of cornbread, and I can't recommend my jalapeno popper cornbread with whipped cream cheese butter enough. It's the perfect dipper to go with this chili.
Besides cornbread, chili is all about toppings. Some of my favorite toppings include shredded cheddar, fresh jalapenos, fried tortilla strips or crush tortilla chips, sour cream, red onion, cilantro, avocado slices and lime wedges. Simply spoon everything into separate bowls, so everyone can add their own toppings, and your hosting duties couldn't be easier.
Of course, don't feel like you just have to use this pumpkin and chorizo chili as a stew. Here are a few other ways you can put this chili to use.
- Use as a nacho topping
- Slather onto a burger or hotdog
- Serve over Fritos for the best Frito pie of your life
- Add to stuffed peppers
- Smother on fries with plenty of cheese
- Spoon into loaded baked potatoes
- Use as a burrito filling -- both breakfast and dinner burritos
- Add to queso
- Use as empanada filling
- Make chili mac
- Use in tamale pie
And those are just a few ideas. Feel free to get creative and use this fall chili as you see fit.
Can You Make Chili Ahead of Time?
You bet. In fact, I recommend it. When the chili has time to sit in the refrigerator, it gives the flavors a chance to meld and deepen. I like to make the chili the day before serving, and then all I have to do is reheat it on the stove. Talk about easy entertaining.
If you'd like, you can even make this chili more than just a day ahead of time. You can store the chili in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Can You Freeze Chili?
Absolutely. I even have some of this pumpkin and chorizo chili in my freezer right now.
I love keeping this fall pumpkin chili on hand in the freezer, especially during football season. Let's say you decide to host an impromptu watch party. You may not have time to cook a batch of chili. Instead, you simply have to thaw the chili, and it's just as delicious as it would have been freshly cooked. I recommend eating the chili within six months of freezing.
As a huge pumpkin spice lover, I adore a pumpkin ale with this chili. Pumpkin ales are generally brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, depending on the recipe, which gives us an extra punch of fall spices. We also get some sweet malt that contrasts the heat of the chili. However, if you don't want an extra dose of spice, a hearty, bold stout is a good call.
Also looking for a good wine to match? Try a joven Rioja, which is a classic chorizo pairing. I also love that a Rioja comes with plenty of fruit to counter the heat and some baking spice notes to match the same ones we use in our chili.
For the ultimate fall meal, I hope you try this pumpkin and chorizo chili. You'll love every cozy bite.
Looking for More Comforting Soups and Stews?
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Pumpkin and Chorizo Chili
- Large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot
- 8 dried guajillo chiles stemmed and seeds removed
- 1 dried arbol chile stemmed and seeds removed
- 6 cups beef stock divided (see note)
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce seeds left intact
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds chorizo
- 2 onions diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced or grated
- 1 cup strong coffee
- 1 (15-ounce) pumpkin pureé can
- 1 (15-ounce) diced tomatoes can drained
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 (15)-ounce cannellini beans cans drained
- ½ lime juiced
- Desired toppings
- Over medium-high heat in a small pot, toast the dried chiles until fragrant, about two to three minutes. Add 2 cups beef stock, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the chiles soften and are pliable.
- Add the dried chiles and beef stock used to simmer the chiles to a blender with the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook half of the chorizo until browned, using a wooden spoon to break up the chorizo. Remove from the pot and then repeat with the other half of the chorizo. Once the second half is browned, remove that chorizo from the pot as well. Remove excessive drippings so that there’s about 2 tablespoons of liquid left in the pot.
- Add the onion to the pot. Cook until softened, about four to five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Pour in remaining 4 cups of beef stock and strong coffee, scraping up the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Add the chorizo back to the pot with the dried chile paste. Stir in pumpkin puree, tomatoes, cinnamon stick, cocoa powder, molasses, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, Mexican oregano, cayenne pepper, coriander, cloves and allspice. Bring the chili up to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then lower heat to a simmer. Keep the pot mostly covered with a crack open. Simmer for two to two and a half hours while stirring occasionally. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add beans. Remove cinnamon stick. Turn off heat and stir in lime juice. Serve with desired toppings. Enjoy!
- If you don't have homemade beef stock, I recommend using the Better Than Bouillon brand. It has the best flavor.
- For full tips, please see blog post.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.