Great Bowls of Fire! Smoky White Bean Pumpkin Chili with Molasses Cornbread

imageCrisp but sunny fall days continue to extend outdoor fall enjoyment and chili weather has set in!    On a recent Sunday with our maple tree ablaze in its autumn coat I made a big pot of chili and served it, buffet style, right from the pot, outside.  There is just something about crowd pleasing, one dish meals that say fall.  This soulful white chili offers an interesting combination of both cubed pumpkin (or squash) and puréed pumpkin.  It is chock full of tasty bits of smokey ground chicken sausage and nice chunks of pumpkin.  When shopping for a pumpkin to make this dish, I got distracted and seduced by a gorgeous red Kuri Squash, also known as Japanese squash or potimarron and had to take it home.  So instead of a pumpkin white bean chili, this chili got a new name!   I made it stove top but it could easily be made in a crock pot.  Adding a selection of toppings for each person to customize their chili and serving it with warm cornbread elevates this tasty chili into company worthy fare.  It can be made a day or two in advance and reheated.   A warming one-dish meal for festive, casual gatherings this fall.




2 onions, chopped

2 yellow, red or orange peppers, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

4 c of cubed pumpkin or squash such as red kuri or butternut

16 oz chicken sausage, casings removed

15 oz can diced tomatoes

15 oz can crushed tomatoes

15 oz can puréed pumpkin

15 oz can chickpeas, drained

15 oz can cannellini beans, drained

1 T liquid smoke

2 T chili spice

1 t ground cumin

salt to taste

1/2 t cayenne pepper

2 T molasses

Toppings:  lime wedges, shredded cheese, sour cream or yogurt, sliced scallions, toasted pumpkin seeds, tortilla chips, sliced black olives, guacamole or sliced avocado, hot pepper flakes and  chopped cilantro are only a few of the possible toppings to offer.


In a tall pot, brown the sausage and onions together, breaking up the sausage as it cooks, about 5 minutes.  Add the peppers and garlic and cook another 3 minutes.  Toss in the squash or pumpkin and cook another 3 minutes to brown.  Add all the spices and stir through.

Add the tomatoes, canned pumpkin purée, molasses and beans and heat, with the lid on, for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve in deep bowls with a selection of toppings and warm molasses corn bread.







1 c yellow corn meal

1 c flour

2 t baking powder

1 t ground cumin

1/2 t salt

2 large eggs, beaten

4 T butter, melted

1 c buttermilk

2 T molasses


Preheat oven to 425F.  Butter an 9 inch square pan.

Combine the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, beat the eggs, milk, molasses and buttermilk.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix only until combined.  Pour into pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into 9 pieces and serve alongside the chili. This cornbread will have a brownish-gold color but its  sweetness  nicely complements the smokey chili.

Wishing you cozy fall gatherings with friends and family as autumn offers up nature’s grand finale of color.

Memories of Home, 2012, painted for my brother

Memories of Home, 2013, painted for my brother

3 thoughts on “Great Bowls of Fire! Smoky White Bean Pumpkin Chili with Molasses Cornbread

  1. Seriously….this is a big part of what attracts me to fall. I just love the crispness in the air and all the good, heartwarming, soul satisfying, tummy filling food that goes along with it! The way you have the chili and fixins’ set up out in the open air with that warm quilt…just kind of makes me go, “Aaaaahhhhh!” What a great chili pot, too! That’s the way you’re supposed to do it…the bigger the better! I love the patina on the pot, too. I almost expect several good-lookin’ Clint Eastwood types to come moseying up to gather around the campfire!

    I’ve never heard of Kuri squash. I learn something new here all the time!

    • I couldn’t believe my eyes that you responded this fast Alycia! So exciting to be almost live chatting with you!! I wish Clint Eastwood had come moseying around! Spent about 5 minutes on that buffet, not an Alycia masterpiece! I had never heard of Kuri squash either until I fell in love with it at Whole Foods yesterday! 🙂 had to try it of course. And with the deeper color, it’s nutient content is higher. Tastes a lot like butternut but it is firmer and so holds up in the chili. Once the chili spices and tomatoes are added, it all tastes about the same really. I love fall too and all the food of fall! I used the rest of the kuri squash in a salad appearing on a blog near you soon 🙂 thanks for visiting with me to start off my week!!

      Sent from my iPad


  2. Pingback: 21 Fall Recipe Round-Up | French Gardener Dishes

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