Every year, around this time, our father makes his famous Pumpkin Chipotle Chicken Chili.
Even though Dad is officially retired, he can be seen here in the kitchen practically every day making lunches for the team, helping out in a crunch, or sharing the awesome culinary expertise he gained over decades of catering. His Pumpkin Chipotle Chicken Chili is a favorite with the team here at Culinary Crafts: seriously, it is sooo good! It’s like a spicy, warm, welcoming Thanksgiving hug.
One of the key ingredients in Pumpkin Chipotle Chicken Chili—and in a lot of the other delicious, picante dishes Dad makes—is the combination of seasonings we refer to simply as “Ron’s Spice.” When you mix up a batch of the spice (see recipe below), we recommend making plenty of extra to keep on hand. It’s perfect for kicking up the flavor profile of fish, steak, chicken…basically any protein. The fire of the cayenne is balanced beautifully by the other sweet and savory spices. You’ll be amazed how many recipes will benefit from a little of Ron’s Spice.
Pumpkin Chipotle Chicken Chili
(Makes two gallons)Ingredients:
- 1 cup Ron’s Spice Blend (see directions below)
- 4 lb chicken tenders
- 1 large purple onion, diced
- 4 oz butter
- 2 chipotles, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2 (28 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
- 4 (15 oz) cans pumpkin
- 4 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups sour cream
- Dry brine the chicken tenders by rubbing them in ½ cup of Ron’s Spice and letting them rest for 1-2 hours.
- In a large pot, sauté the chicken tenders over medium-high heat. Once browned, remove chicken from pot and dice into bite-size pieces.
- Deglaze the pot with a few Tbsp of water or white wine. Add butter and onion to soak up all the flavor from the browned remains (the “fond”) left over in the pot. Add another ½ cup of Ron’s Spice and the diced chipotles. Let it all bloom together until chipotles are tender.
- Add garlic and let it brown for 60 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes, pumpkin, black beans, chicken stock, and browned chicken. Bring to simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from heat. Add 4 cups sour cream.
Ron’s Spice Blend
(Makes 2.5 cups)
- 8 Tbsp salt (kosher or any other kind without iodine or other chemical additives)
- 4 Tbsp white pepper
- 4 Tbsp black pepper
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp oregano
- 4 Tbsp chili powder
- 4 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 4 Tbsp garlic powder
- 4 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp cayenne
Pro Tips: Any kind of salt will work so long as it has no iodine or other added chemicals. Also, feel free to kick up the heat level with as much cayenne as you and your guests can handle!