Pumpkin Chicken Chili

I LOVE pumpkin in just about any form; this chili is the perfect fall food and is actually very healthy. I like to serve this with Zucchini Cornbread and a nice cold beer. You can add cheese on top if you want but it doesn’t even need it. This recipe was given to my friend Julie (as in Power Muffin Julie) and she modified it a bit; the only change I made was to use chicken broth rather than water. It is ridiculously easy to make;  I usually double the recipe– the leftovers (if there are any) freeze well.

1 lb Italian chicken or turkey sausage (I like spicy from Whole Foods), casing removed
1 T olive oil
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup chunky style salsa (see note at the end about salsa)
1 cup chicken broth

In a saucepan, heat the oil and add the sausage; fry over high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes to let the flavors meld. It just occurred to me that some crushed fritos over the top of this would be divine (alas no longer so healthy…).

A note on the salsa: you can choose any variety you like; I like to try a different one each time because it will give the chili a slightly different flavor– for this batch I used Frontera Double Roasted Tomato salsa and it gave a darker color and more smoky flavor. A chipotle salsa will give the chili a distinctive and delicious flavor so just use your favorite or try something new.

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