Feel free to make this healthy chili a day ahead. It reheats nicely, and the polenta stays good for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge.—Wendy Rusch, Trego, Wisconsin
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
- 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon plus 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- In a Dutch oven, cook the first five ingredients over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain.
- Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes, pumpkin, 1 tablespoon sugar, chili powder, pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan, bring milk, cream, butter, and remaining sugar and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil; slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon 2-3 minutes or until polenta is thickened and pulls away cleanly from sides of pan (mixture will be very thick).
- Pour into a greased 9-in.-square baking pan. Let stand until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Stir beans into chili; heat through. Cut polenta into six pieces. Serve with chili. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Hearty Pumpkin Chili with Polenta in Country Woman October/November 2013, p37
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