Pumpkin and Pork Chili with Roasted Pepitas


Not your average chili, this version is reminiscent of mole sauce, full of tender pork and pumpkin, and best enjoyed topped with some cilantro and a smattering of roasted pepitas for some crunch. It’ll make you appreciate pumpkin in a whole new light.

Recipe provided by Wisconsin from Scratch, a member of WI Whisk.



1. Sprinkle the pork pieces evenly with the ½ tsp salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the pork, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pork is just browning on all sides, about 5 minutes. You may need to cook pork in a couple of batches so the pieces don’t overcrowd the pot while cooking. Remove pork from pot and set aside.

2. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the pot, followed by the onion, ancho chile, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and cloves. Cook until onion begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes, then add the pumpkin pieces, stir to coat with the onion mixture, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the water, baking chocolate, and lime juice. Return the pork to the pot, and give everything a good stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until pork and pumpkin are tender, about 30 minutes.

4. Use a large spoon or potato masher to break apart the meat and pumpkin into smaller pieces. Continue to cook uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

5. Top with roasted pepitas, fresh cilantro, and serve with warm corn tortillas. 

Note: Pepitas are shelled pumpkin seeds. You can usually find them already roasted in the bulk section at most grocery stores, but if you can only find them raw, it’s super easy to roast them yourself. Just toss them with a little olive oil (about ½ Tbsp per cup of pepitas), spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake at 300 degrees until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Besides using them as a chili topping, they’re great for general snacking, delicious atop yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, and make for an awesome ice cream topper. You might as well roast up some extra.

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