Pork and Pumpkin Chili

I’ve been busy. Have you been busy? It must be that time of year.

I’m bouncing between two jobs at the moment, which is just as glamorous as it sounds. I’ve read Humans of New York, Coralineand The Captain is out to Lunch and The Sailors Have Taken Over the ShipI’m in the middle of Age of Miracles, and have been thumbing through Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs Favourite Restaurants. My two economics textbooks are in there somewhere, too. I’ve taken a Whiskey 101 class from The Old Goldfinally eaten at Pok Pok and Tin Shed, been hunting for the perfect hot toddy, and eaten salted caramel Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin custard with spiced chèvre ice cream from Salt and Straw. I watched the Timbers finish their third season in the MLS, and bought myself a winter coat that doesn’t look like a sleeping bag.

And somehow I managed to shop for my Thanksgiving ingredients well before the last minute. Who am I? Of course this is completely contingent on the jar of yeast to still work like a champion. I should probably test that tomorrow…after my massage. Priorities.

So let’s talk chili for a second. Am I the only one who completely disregards the liquid requirement in recipes for chili? I guess it’s impatience, but there is way, way, way too much liquid if I follow the rules. I don’t have time to let it simmer and cook down. I don’t want to let it sit in the fridge overnight. I’m hungry now. The soup tonight called for four cups of broth and two of water. I completely neglected the water. It came out fine, and was still a little too watery for me. This chili called for three cups of water plus 12oz of beer. I dropped a cup and was still thin. I want thick, hearty chilies and soups 99% of the time.

The chili with adobo has been in my freezer for a long, long time. I pureed the leftovers of a can and froze it, chiseling off pieces as I needed them. It’s either losing it’s potency or I’m getting my tolerance up. It’s nice to have a way to store it, though. I hate throwing it away.

Mustard greens came in the original recipe. I went with it. I liked the bitter/spiciness. You could easily substitute kale to keep it hearty but less bitter. Spinach would taste good but would totally wilt down.

Pork still ends up a little too dry for me. It would be neat to try a bone-in pork loin in a crock pot to see if it could up the juiciness. Dry pork is annoying.

Overall the flavors of the chili were nice. Pumpkin isn’t dominating despite having a whole can in there. It’s more for the creaminess than anything. I’d definitely lower the liquid even more next time. Bring on the thickness.

Inspiration: Food Network


  • 3 pounds of pork shoulder, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups of water
  • 12oz beer [preferably a Mexican lager like Tecate]
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, small dice
  • 3 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 15oz canned pumpkin
  • 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded if desired, and chopped
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch of mustard greens, stems removed, and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • lime juice


In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, bring the water, beer, pork, and a healthy pinch of salt to a simmer on medium-low heat. Skim the foam of the surface as it appears. Add the chipotles and half of the oregano and cover for 30 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, poblano, onions, and two teaspoons of salt. Stir occasionally for about 15 minutes until the vegetables become soft. Add the remaining oregano, chili powder, and the garlic. Cook for another five minutes. The chili powder will coat everything and thicken up. Add the pumpkin, and cook for another five minutes.

Add the tomato/pumpkin mixture to the pork and cook for another 30 minutes until tender. Add the chopped greens and cook for ten minutes. Season the broth with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste. Remove from heat, and allow to sit and thicken up for at least 10 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, avocado slices, and chips.

  • Sara Kuhlman

    Haha! Now I want to see a picture of this jacket that doesn’t look like a sleeping bag!

    I also have little pots of chipotle chilis in adobo all over my freezer. Perfect to just open one and dump it in a chili! I usually open a can then put the rest in tiny containers to freeze.

    • http://thehooteats.com/ Michelle

      Jacket that doesn’t look like a sleeping bag: http://www.bridgeandburn.com/collections/women/products/laurel

      Jacket that does look like a sleeping bag: http://goo.gl/UjVsDC Mine is similar, but super old.

      I’ve always wondered why a market hasn’t started selling chilies in adobo in bulk similar to olives and the like. I would gladly pay a little more to get like..two, not a whole can.

      • Sara Kuhlman

        That’s such a good point! Perhaps this is a business opportunity for you, because I’d totally buy a little pot!
        And the non-sleeping bag coat is super cute. Love it! I have to admit I LOLed (LOLd, LOL’d??) at the sleeping bag coat.

        • http://thehooteats.com/ Michelle

          We affectionately call it “the Coleman.” I usually cave sometime in November and start wearing it to late night sporting events and stuff. It’s SO warm, but not practical at all. Let’s say you wear it to the grocery store; NOW you’re roasting. Not exactly easy to carry around.

  • http://hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com/ Eileen

    I don’t think I’ve followed any requirement in a chili recipe for…uh, ever? I just read the list of ingredients and then throw however much of each I want into the pot. Pumpkin, pork, and chipotle sounds like a fantastic combination!

    • http://thehooteats.com/ Michelle

      I’m jealous of your confidence. I’m just not there yet. I don’t trust my judgement. That way if a recipe sucks, I can blame the recipe instead of myself. ;)

  • http://thestrangehydrangea.com/ Allie

    Soup always involves too much liquid for me. Go stew or go home.

    I want to read Coraline one of these days. Plowing through Mr. King’s gigantic 11/22/63 though, so it may be a while before I get to anything new.

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Hope you have a forthcoming post about your holiday eats :)

    • http://thehooteats.com/ Michelle

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, too. I want to see all your eats, too. Did you still get to go see your parents? I know you guys always chow down on some good stuff.

      I use your Goodreads posts to search through my library’s e-book selection (which is pretty damn good, I must say). I’ve been plowing through books on my phone. It’s so convenient!