My Carrot husband is back to work at his greenhouse gig for the spring season. Back to working super duper hard and burning millions of calories every day. Only two weeks back and he’s already starving. All the time. Like starving so bad his stomach feels like a big hollow cavern two hours after he eats. He wakes up crabby because his belly is so empty.
It will only get worse too! He’ll only be working more and more hours as the greenhouse season continues on. And then our farming season begins. And he works a bazillion times harder on our farm (if you can even imagine). I got to get on my hearty, heavy food game. Stat.
Here’s the problem. At home, I love vegetables and carbs and even, dare I say, eating moderately light. (That leaves more room for wine and dessert and surprise going out to eat encounters.). With the exception of schnitzel covered in gravy (which we did eat twice in one week….), our diet lately has been pretty vegetarian. I love roasted vegetables and yummy pureed soups. Things tossed with noodles and flatbread pizzas loaded high with ricotta and veggies. Mr. Carrot burns though these meals in literally ten minutes. Poor thing!!
He would literally eat nothing but pot pie (or other things wrapped in pie crust) and biscuits & gravy if I’d let him. (I won’t). But his crazy calorie burning body needs something like that. Something extremely heavy and calorie dense.
So… here’s some chili babe! Chili’s calorie dense! It’s packed with healthy stuff and hearty stuff! It’s the best of both worlds! It’s not wrapped in pie crust or slathered in gravy but it should keep you full. And I even threw in some Sour Cream Cornbread for you because more food = more calories, even if you do blow through carbs like a freak.
SWEET & SPICY PUMPKIN CHILI
Loosely adapted from The Kitchn’s Pumpkin Chili
Takes 1 hour, 30 minutes
Makes 16 cups
¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 pound ground beef or venison
½ pound ground pork sausage
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup diced bell peppers
3 carrots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup pumpkin puree, UNSWEETENED (puree not pie mix)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Two 14.5-ounce fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
One 16-ounce chili beans in chili sauce, not drained
One 15-ounce chickpeas
1½ cups corn (fresh or frozen)
6 cups water
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
You can do everything in the same stock pot (and just add the veggies to the meat after it is browned) but I love browning meat in my cast-iron skillet so that’s what I did. If not using the cast-iron skillet, I would negate the second 2 tablespoons of oil.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a cast-iron skillet. Add ground beef and sausage and brown over medium heat. Season well with salt and pepper. Set aside when cooked through.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large stockpot. Add onion, peppers, carrots and garlic. Sauté veggies over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add spices along with a nice sprinkling of salt and pepper. Sauté 3 minutes longer. Some of the spices will stick to the bottom but just keep stirring. It will be fine J Add pumpkin, tomato paste and meat. Cook 5 minutes longer to allow flavors to combine.
Add tomatoes, beans, chickpeas, corn, water and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour (or longer if you’ve got it). The flavors get better the longer you let it simmer real low. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream!