First food post people!! Vanessa and I are super excited to get this blog going. Designing a space just for us to get creative with food and share our passion for connecting and building relationships through the sacred experience of breaking bread with others has been a vision of ours for quite some time. In this weekly blog you will find our stories, our experiences, our personalities, our joys and our passions. Every two weeks we will focus on a different dish or ingredient. One week you will get my take on that dish and one week you will get Vanessa’s take. What we hope you will find, as we have, is that one dish can have unlimited preparations and possibilities. The kitchen is a perfect place to experiment and find your “food personality.” There is so much room for interpretation and expression in food.
Now…onto the chili!!
Autumn in Minnesota is an incredible time. The air is just beginning to get a little crisp and is dotted with the distinct smell of fallen leaves and bonfires being stoked. I absolutely love the fall because it reintroduces one my favorite clothing seasons. If I could wear jeans, boots and sweaters year-round I would (bonus points if it is a sweater that is also a tunic which I can wear with leggings…stretchy pants y’all). I also love fall because it welcomes in the season of Halloween, picking apples and warm, stick to your ribs, comfort cooking.
I mean come on…Thanksgiving is in the fall for a reason.
One of my favorite memories of childhood was getting off the bus and being welcomed into the house by the mouthwatering smell of homemade chicken noodle soup that had been slow cooked with love all day. I would immediately consume a bowl as my after-school snack, with a homemade bun, hot from the oven, smothered in peanut butter. Yum! My mom was and still is an incredible soup maker, chicken soup was a family fave as well as cheesy wild rice soup and thick, meaty chili.
Even now, when I am wanting a meal that will really warm me up from the inside out, a hot bowl of delicious soup is what I want.
This year, I got a couple of sweet little pumpkins, gifted to me from my mother’s garden harvest. I love the spices and flavors of chili and I wanted to create a veggie chili that was a little different from others I’ve made in the past and used some less traditional ingredients. I recently had a squash soup that I adored, which was a broth based soup that contained squash and beans and I thought I’d take a spin on that recipe and add kale and some traditional chili spices.
Bam! What I got was a super success. A brothy yet slightly creamy, spicy chili with flavors of apple cider, cumin and pumpkin. It is literally autumn in a bowl. Pumpkin Kale and White Bean Chili get in my belly! With some kind of crusty white bread please and thank you.
Also, chili making is even better when you have a little helper in the kitchen. 🙂
Pumpkin Kale and White Bean Chili
1 small pie pumpkin (or winter squash like butternut), diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
1 c. apple cider
3 c. vegetable stock
1 c. heavy cream
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder)
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup kettle, heat a splash of olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until fragrant. Add pumpkin and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Saute until pumpkin begins to caramelize. Add apple cider, vegetable stock and bay leaf and simmer until pumpkin is fork tender (about 15-20 mins). Add in cream, beans, kale and remaining seasonings and simmer for another 15 minutes. Broth will slightly thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Ladle into bowls and enjoy with crusty bread for dipping.
Tune in next week for Vanessa’s take on this perfect fall comfort food.