Chocolate Chili on Roasted Pumpkin

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This is my go-to ground beef chili recipe. It’s easy to mix up and you know how I love a slow cooker of spicy meat this time of year. I had the roasted pumpkin already and it’s turned out to be such a great side dish when I don’t want to serve everything on greens. The combination of cocoa with the chili on top of the slightly cinnamon-y squash is so satisfying. I love tucking into a bowl of ragu and this reminds me of that, but with so much more personality.

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Chocolate Chili on Roasted Pumpkin
Adapted from The Clothes Make The Girl

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground beef
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 cups tomato sauce or 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted and garlicy)
4 cups beef or chicken broth

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Instructions:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds. Put the cooked onions and garlic into a slow cooker and set aside. Put the skillet back on the stove over medium-high heat and crumble the ground meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with the wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink. Add to the slow cooker.

In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release its flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine with a fork, then add to the slow cooker, stirring like you mean it. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce or tomatoes with their juice, and broth to the slow cooker. Stir well. Cook on high for 2 hours or low for four hours. Do not skimp on the simmer! Serve in deep bowls with big spoons over the roasted pumpkin (recipe below) and top with cilantro, green onions, or whatever your heart desires.

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Roasted Pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve a whole pumpkin, remove the seeds, and place face down on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, depending on how big the pumpkin is. Remove from the oven and let cool. (Can be done the day before.) Remove the skin and stem from the pumpkin and chop the flesh into 2″ cubes. Put the cut pumpkin back on the lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with a bit of salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Stir a bit and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring half way through. The pumpkin should get a bit crisp with the heat and oil and get a bit of color (and flavor!) from the roasting method.

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