Oktoberfest Pumpkin Chili

We love experimenting with pumpkin recipes in the fall, and surprisingly have ended up liking the renditions of savory dishes more than the sweet ones! We have been making versions of this pumpkin chili for years now, and this latest is our favorite yet. We have combined all things “October” in this hearty chili- Oktoberfest beer, a can of pumpkin, and lots of warming spices. The beer gives the chili a little punch and helps give it a rich taste. The pumpkin is a great way to add creaminess but keep everything healthy. We suggest buying an Oktoberfest beer versus a pumpkin beer, as sometimes pumpkin beers can be ultra sweet which doesn’t mix well with the rest of the recipe. Serve with any and all of your favorite chili toppings for an ultra-fall cozy night in!

Octoberfest Pumpkin Chili

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for the Chili

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz Octoberfest beer (we used a Bavarian lager)
  • salt, to taste

Optional Chili Toppings and Accompaniments:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed, minced
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sauté 4-5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
  2. Add the jalapeno, paprika, cumin, and red chili flakes to the pot. Toast the spices in the pan for about 3 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Mix in the tomato paste and let everything cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the both cans of beans and the pumpkin to the chili. Add the beer and stir well to combine, but not so rough that you start to break up the beans. Season the chili with salt. Bring the chili to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and then cover and cook another 20-30 minutes. If the chili seems too thick before you are ready to serve, you can add water or stock to bring it to the consistency of your liking. Season again with salt to taste.
  4. Serve the chili hot out of the pan with any of your favorite chili toppings.

Lamb & Guinness Shepherd’s Pie

For as long as January felt, we blinked and here we are in the middle of March. While March is exciting for those young enough for Spring Break, for us young adults, mid-March means St. Patrick’s Day. There are two easy ways to approach a St. Patrick’s Day menu- green themed or traditional. This year we have gone the traditional route by starting our menu with Lamb & Guinness Shepherd’s Pie. Can you get any better than topping savory stew with creamy mashed potatoes? We don’t think so. 

Adding Guinness to this recipe adds to the Irish theme and also brings a hearty, almost bitter taste to the stew. This balances out the richness of the lamb and mashed potatoes. We’ve used a standard frozen vegetable mix in this version of the recipe, but if you decide to make this in the summer months, feel free to substitute for fresh veggies of your choosing.

Lamb & Guinness Shepherd’s Pie
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes   Cooking Time: 20 minutes   Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients For the Potatoes:

  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 2 tbs butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Filling: 

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 lb ground lamb 
  • 2 tbs tomato paste 
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 tbs flour 
  • 1 Guinness beer (16 oz) 
  • 3 cups frozen vegetable medley, thawed in the microwave
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into medium, even sized pieces. Put them in a large pot and cover with cool water by an inch or so. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. . Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
  3. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher and add the butter and milk. Continue to mash until they are creamy and to the texture of your liking. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Start the filling by heating a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, carrots, garlic, rosemary and thyme.. Saute for 3 minutes, or until the onions star to caramelize.
  5. Season the lamb well with salt and pepper. Add the lamb to the pot and brown for roughly 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire, and flour to the pan and stir well to evenly distribute. Cook another 3 minutes. Add the Guinness and stir with a whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a low simmer. Cook the lamb mixture for 15 minutes, uncovered. Add the vegetable medley to the mix and gently stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spray each of the four ramekins (or a deep 9 x 9 x 2 baking dish) with cooking spray. Evenly distribute the filling among for four ramekins or into an even layer in a baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes, being sure to completely spread the potatoes to the edges to create a seal over the filling. Bake the shepherd’s pies for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown. If they haven’t browned in the 20 minutes, turn your oven onto a high broil and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Let the shepherd’s pie rest for at least 10 minutes out of the oven before serving.