Fall Spice Pumpkin Chili

 Fall Spice Pumpkin Chili

On Sunday, I made my annual trip to the pumpkin patch and we came home with bushels of produce! There are still so many pumpkin recipes in the works and it was perfect inspiration. The best part is that the farm we visited uses organic standards for everything they grow. Hooray for no pesticides in our food!

I created this pumpkin chili recipe in anticipation of chilly fall evenings around the corner. The ingredients are simple and I like to load it up with veggies to up the antioxidant benefits. Pumpkin adds creaminess and also balances out the acidity of the tomatoes.  Since I generally only cook for two, I froze more than half to whip out on a lazy week night. The flavors will only enhance the longer it sits so it’s an excellent freezer meal.In this dish, the pumpkin grabs your attention but the beef is the star of the show. Make sure your beef is the best quality you can buy. You want beef from grass-fed cows, raised humanely. Not only will the flavor be quite different from conventional meat, the nutritional benefits far exceed it. If you’re still on the fence about eating red meat, have no fear and read Chris Kresser’s post, Red Meat: It Does a Body Good!Fall Spice Pumpkin Chili
Grass-fed v. Conventional Beef (Grain-fed)

♦ Grass-fed has 2-5 times more omega 3s.
♦ Grass-fed contains higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which  has potent antioxidant activity.
♦ Cows create Vitamin K2 when they consume grass. Our bodies easily absorb this when we eat beef, which has incredible benefits. K2 is responsible for distributing calcium throughout the body leading to improved bone density.
♦ Grass-fed are typically raised on pasture and under humane practices.
♦ Grass-fed cows receive little to no antibiotics and no growth hormones.
The list of environmental benefits for grass-fed is numerous. NRDC created a Top 10 List.
♦ Conventional farming methods feed cows grain, which they cannot digest. This inability to digest leads to illness and the intake of antibiotics. Beef adds to our over-exposure of antibiotics.
Antibiotics used in food animals can result in resistant Salmonella. A report from the Pew Charitable Trust calls out,  “recognizing that antibiotic resistance is a threat to Americans’ health and economic and national security from within and beyond our borders.”
♦ Beef from conventionally raised cows are more susceptible to E-Coli infection.

Tips for Buying Grass-Fed 

♦ Get to know your local farmers and frequent your farmers market.
♦ Ask your friends to split a cow share with you and invest in a deep freezer.
♦ How to buy and store a side of beef: http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2059/F-3401web.pdf
♦ For sources of grass-fed beef: http://www.grasslandbeef.com/StoreFront.bok

♦ How to find a local rancher: http://www.eatwild.com/PRODUCTS/index.html


Red Meat It Does a Body Good! http://chriskresser.com/red-meat-it-does-a-body-good

Why Grass Fed Trumps Grain Fed http://chriskresser.com/why-grass-fed-trumps-grain-fed

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations http://www.marksdailyapple.com/concentrated-animal-feeding-operations/#axzz3EhQyWw7t

Why Vitamin K2 is Important and How to Get It http://www.mamanatural.com/why-vitamin-k2-is-important-and-how-to-get-it/

National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic Resistance http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/about/news-room/news/2014/09/25/summary-of-the-national-strategy-for-combating-antibiotic-resistance

Grass Fed Beef and Heart Disease http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/expert-answers/grass-fed-beef/faq-20058059

The Controversy Over Added Hormones in Meat and Dairy http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=90869

Fall Spice Pumpkin Chili

Makes 6 servings.

1.5 lbs grass-fed ground beef
1 medium onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – minced
3 carrots – chopped
five turnips with greens – chopped
2 tsp salt
4 cups baby heirloom tomatoes – sliced in half
1 cup beef broth
1 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder

​1 cup pumpkin puree

►In an 8 quart dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown ground beef for 6 minutes until medium doneness.
►Remove meat from pot with a slotted spoon to leave the fat remaining. Over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in beef fat for 3 minutes. Then add in carrots, turnips, greens and 1 tsp salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring throughout.
►Add tomatoes, beef broth, water, cinnamon, chili powder, and remaining salt. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
►Bring heat to medium-high. Stir in pumpkin and beef, then cook for 8 more minutes.
►Remove from heat and ladle into bowls. Top with mini heirloom tomatoes and a dash of cinnamon.

Summer Vegetable Curry

Summer Vegetable Curry

I’m a new member of the Park Slope Food Coop. The first member-owned grocery store of its kind in the US, focusing on sustainably produced and locally sourced foods. Under one roof you can find vegetables just pulled from the ground by a farm less than 100 miles away, cartons of eggs with handwritten labels, locally produced nut cheeses, spices lovingly scooped into individual packages by your neighbors, and pickled garlic scapes made in a shop down the block. It’s my latest obsession. I spend any free moment casually browsing the shelves for inspiration. Which explains the abundance of vegetables in my fridge. Every time I open the door their gorgeous colors stare back at me, begging to be cooked into a delicious meal. Curry time.

Curry was brought into my life by a good friend who showed me a thing or two in the kitchen. I learned the secret is in the homemade spice mix. That curry in a jar simply will not do. Trust me. Make your own and you’ll never reach for the pre-mix again.

Summer Vegetable Curry

Makes 4 servings.

2 tbsp lard
1 red onion – chopped
1 white onion – chopped
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger – chopped
1 orange bell pepper – sliced
2 large carrots – chopped
3 cups summer squash – any variety
1 large sweet potato – cubed
2 cups water
1 cup beef stock
1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
juice of 1/2 a lime

Curry Powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp cloves
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt

Ground Beef
1 lb ground beef
3 cloves garlic – chopped
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp salt

►Combine all spices for curry powder in a bowl. Set aside.

►Put bell pepper, squash, carrots and sweet potato in a large mixing bowl. Coat with ½ of the curry powder. Set aside.

►Melt lard in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and ginger, cooking for two minutes until browned. Throw in the vegetable curry mix and stir until well incorporated.

►Once the vegetables are well sautéed, about five minutes, add in the stock, water, remaining curry powder and lime juice. Lower the heat to medium low and cover for 15 minutes.

►While the curry is cooking, prepare the ground beef. Mix the beef, garlic, paprika and salt together in a bowl. Pour into a frying pan over medium high heat. Let brown on one side for five minutes then flip and brown on the other side for another five minutes. Cook until the beef is an even golden brown. 

►Stir the cilantro and mint into the curry vegetables. Let cook for five more minutes uncovered. 

►Ladle into bowls and top with ground beef. You can also serve with rice or mashed cauliflower.