Pumpkin Leek Venison Chili

The crisp mornings and changing leaves of fall are upon us! While the temperature still gets warm during the day sometimes, other days stay cool throughout…and some bring a cold rain (different from the song “November Rain,” mind you). We find Chili to be perfect for those particular days, as it warms the soul. This one in particular and relies heavily upon the glorious yet humble and misunderstood Pumpkin. It’s our second version of a Pumpkin Chili (first being Pumpkin and Ale Turkey Chili), and it is a little more classic than its predecessor since it is more tomato based. Both are very much worth a try if you find yourself in the enviable position of having a pumpkin and the insatiable desire to feed (and/or a keen awareness of your lack of pumpkin carving skills, as is the case for me).

We served our chili with a blend of our Homemade Dinner Rolls (Style/Method) and Pumpernickel Dinner Rolls (Ingredients). However, this chili would also be great served with cornbread or over white rice as well!

Time: 2 Hours


  • Ground Venison (Beef, Turkey, or Pork will work too)
  • 1/2 of a Fresh Pumpkin, Broken Down.
  • Jalapeno
  • Large Leek
  • A few cloves of Fresh Garlic
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Cremini Mushrooms
  • 1 Quart Canned Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste
  • Salt
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Chili Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Chipotle Chili Powder
  • Hot Sauce of your choice. We used Rocky’s Honey BBQ Hot Sauce.
  • Honey, sugar, or honey crystals
  • Optional: Cheese to melt atop. We used Pumpkin Spice Gouda, but Cheddar would work too


  • Remove the skin from your broken down pumpkin wedges, and cut those wedges into cubes. Place in a large pot. Cover with water, and boil until soft.
  • As your pumpkin boils, slice your leek, garlic, and mushrooms, and dice your jalapeño and red bell pepper.
  • Melt some butter in a large pot, and when it’s liquified, add in your leeks and jalapeño. Allow to cook for a few minutes, and then add in your mushrooms and bell peppers.
  • Cook your vegetables for around 5-10 minutes, and then break up your ground venison, and add it into your pot. Add in your chili powder, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, and chipotle chili pepper, and stir to combine.
  • As your meat cooks, drain and rinse your beans.
  • When your meat has browned fully, add your beans to the pot, and stir to combine.
  • When your pumpkin cubes are soft enough to pierce with a fork and as your meat and beans finish cooking, drain your pumpkin water, and put your pumpkin cubes into a bowl…then mash with a fork.
  • Scoop your pumpkin into your meat/veggie mixture, and pour in your tomatoes. Stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.
  • Add in your tomato paste and honey/sugar/honey crystals, and stir to fully incorporate.
  • Cover your pot, and simmer for an hour or so to let your chili form into all of its glory.
  • Taste occasionally as it cooks, and when the sauce has thickened into a chili-like consistency, add in your hot sauce and any other additional seasonings it may need.
  • Plate, top with your optional cheese to melt, devour, and enjoy!

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