Monday 22 October 2012

We Should Cocoa - Pumpkin and chocolate chilli

Ever since watching a scene in Chocolat where a rich chocolate sauce is poured over roasted chicken legs and stirred into spicy hot chilli at a wonderful secret birthday banquet...and...

... I read Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquirel...where each chapter begins with a recipe for scrumptious Mexican food,  like turkey with almonds and sesame seeds in an equally delicious sounding chocolate sauce...

...I've longed to do some kind of vegetarian alternative. At last I've had a go...thanks to a number of challenges and it worked amazingly well.

This month's We Should Cocoa challenge was to use pumpkin and chocolate in the same dish.  I suppose I could have made something a little safer like chocolate pumpkin pie...But no, I decided to make a pumpkin and chocolate chilli. Thankfully it worked amazingly well. It was delicious.

I used a cute little munchkin pumpkin and lentils as the main ingredients for a vegetable chilli. The pumpkin because of the challenge, and the lentils because they taste delicious, are full of second class protein and actually look a little like mince beef when cooked in a sauce...A bit like traditional meat chilli.

The chocolate was some some really lovely Menier dark chocolate with pretty packaging that my daughter brought me back from France a couple of months ago...I was keeping it for something this would do. 

Here is how I made my Pumpkin and Chocolate Chilli:


  • One small munchkin pumpkin or squash, peeled de-seeded and chopped into small pieces
  • One red onion sliced finely
  • One potato and carrot peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • A cup of washed green lentils
  • A stick of celery, deveined and chopped
  • Two or three mushrooms or one medium sized Portobello mushroom sliced thinly 
  • A clove or two of garlic, peeled and then crushed finely
  • A small piece of ginger, peeled and then grated
  • A little of the following ground spices: paprika, coriander, cumin
  • Fresh or dried chilli to taste...we like it hot
  • A few pieces of good unsweetened dark chocolate
  • Olive oil, sea salt and black pepper

  1. Pour a little olive oil into a heavy saucepan and add the onions. Saute until caramelised.
  2. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and saute and then all the remaining vegetables, give them a good stir and cook for a further few minutes.
  4. Season and pour a little boiling water over to cover all the ingredients. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and leave to cook until all the vegetables are tender and the lentils cooked. This should take about twenty minutes.
  5. Check the seasoning and then add a couple of pieces of chocolate.  As it melts stir it into the sauce.

This makes a delicious rich chilli the chocolate adds a really smooth velvety texture to the sauce and rich colour. I will definitely be making this again.

Lovely served with rice or flat bread and yoghurt.

one ingredient challenge hosted here and here

and simple and in season hosted here and here

and last but not least we should cocoa challenge here,here and here


  1. Oh my goodness Debby, you have outdone yourself with this recipe and I can't wait to try it. Our temps are still hovering around 80 degrees,but the first cool day we have I am preparing your chili.

  2. oh thanks Tracey. It really is yummy I definitely recommend it when it cools down a little. It's mild here today but I can't imagine 80 degrees. Have a good one.

  3. The dark chocolate sauce with the natural sweetness of pumpkin sounds a lovely combination.

  4. It was really good Phil...I'm definitely be making it again.

  5. Snap! I also made a chocolate pumpkin chili too for me Ingredient and we should cocoa! Yours looks just lovely....Karen

    1. What a coincidence Karen. It works so well doesn't?

  6. Such a delicious sounding dish. I do love a touch of dark chocolate in a savoury dish, brings out the other flavours so well. I love the book Like Water for Chocolate too!
    Thanks so much for entering One Ingredient!
    Laura@howtocookgoodfood xx

    1. Your welcome Laura, it was fun to join in. I think I'll be experimenting much more with it now. I want to treat myself to a really good solid block of chocolate now...I really want to try to make a sauce to use with chicken or turkey...mmm...makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

  7. I love that book Like Water for Chocolate, it's nuts, but so sensual and captures the imagination wonderfully. Mmmm, I've found chocolate and lentils work really well together and I can see pumpkin would be a good addition too. How delicious. Thanks for entering this into WSC, a very welcome addition, especially as Nat and I are both vegetarians.

  8. Your pumpkin chilli looks delicious and it sounds like the chocolate would add a nice deep flavour to the dish.