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Pumpkin Chicken Chili

Pumpkin Chicken Chili

Servings 6 servings
Author Brandon Matzek


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken*
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin purée
  • 12 ounces pumpkin beer (or any other beer you have on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon ground ancho chile**
  • 1 tablespoon ground New Mexico chile**
  • 1 pinch red chile flakes (the size of the pinch will depend on how spicy you like your chile)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (preferably freshly ground)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Sour cream, for serving (Greek yogurt or creme fraiche would work well here too)
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving
  • Sliced scallion, for serving
  • Roasted, salted pepitas, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving


  1. Warm oil in a large cast iron pot (I used my 4 Quart KitchenAid Cast Iron Pot) over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are tender but not brown (5 - 7 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the ground chicken, and cook until browned all over. I like to get all the meat in the pan, stir to combine, and then let sit for a few minutes to really get some brown color. If you continuously move the meat around, no caramelization will occur. You won't get that much dark brown color here, but even just a little bit will help with flavor.
  2. Add the fire-roasted tomatoes, pumpkin puree, pumpkin beer, chile powders, cumin, kidney beans, salt and several turns of black pepper, sitting to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing burns on the bottom. Stir in red wine vinegar, then taste for seasoning. Add more kosher salt, black pepper and red wine vinegar to taste. Flavors should be big and bold, but don't overdo the vinegar, because the soup is served with lime wedges (which will add more acid).
  3. To serve, ladle the chili into a soup bowl, and top with sour cream, chopped cilantro and pepitas. Provide lime wedges for squeezing.

Recipe Notes

* I made my own ground chicken here using 4 chicken thighs (with skin) and a food processor. It's very easy to do! Here's a simple tutorial. Ground chicken usually comes in 1 pound - 1.25 pound packages at the grocery store. If that's all you can find, just use that here. Ground turkey or beef would work well too.

** When making chili, I love using a mixture of chile powders to add depth of flavor. If you don't have access to these types of chile powders (or they are super expensive), you could definitely use the spice labeled "Chili Powder." Just keep in mind that chili powders usually have other things mixed in like garlic and oregano, so the end result might taste a little different.