I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Let's hear all about it...
Today I want to share with you another fun project, perfect for the fall season. If you are looking for something a little different to serve at your next autumn gathering or Halloween party, this just might do the trick.
Last year, as I was preparing for our annual Halloween party, and brainstorming ideas for something to serve, I had a lightbulb moment in the midst of carving pumpkins for our front porch. What better thing to serve but chili, spicy and simmering with fall flavors; and what better way to serve it than out of a hollowed out pumpkin!!? I promptly began researching the concept, and found a couple sites that confirmed that this was a safe and doable idea.
To make your own "pumpkin cauldron", find the largest pumpkin possible, cut a large round opening at the top, and then thoroughly remove all of the "guts". Make sure to scoop and remove all of the stringy stuff and stray seeds. Then spray the inside and outside and the top of the pumpkin with cooking spray. Place them separately on a large, greased cookie sheet. Set the oven to 350 degrees, and bake the pumpkin for 1 hour, until the outside has turned a dark golden orange color. Remove, and promptly add your chili (or soup!). The pumpkin will not only provide a great conversation piece, it will also help to keep the chili warm, and offer a lovely pouf of steam each time the top is opened.
If you are looking for a good chili recipe, here is the one that I use, and let me tell you, it's really tasty!! Enjoy!
2 lg onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 lbs. ground beef
2 (16 oz) cans red kidney beans, undrained
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2-4 T. chili powder
1 bay leaf, crush
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 tsp. oregano
1. In large pot, saute onion, green pepper, and garlic in oil until tender.
2. Add ground beef and brown; drain off fat.
3. Add kidney bean, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasonings to beef mixture.
4. Simmer 1-1/2 hours, covered. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
By the way, I'm really impressed with how perfectly round that pumpkin is! Am I the only one who finds misshapen ones with huge ugly spots? Maybe Bethany needs to take me pumpkin picking!