Campfire Recipe: Mexican Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin in chili may sound a little odd but believe it or not, it is wonderful.  The pumpkin provides that sweetness that many chilies lack.  It also adds another nutritional element to the dish without much effort.  While adults will notice the sweetness, kids will never detect the pumpkin. 

If you are a vegetarian, consider adding more beans and a little tofu to the dish.  On the other hand, if this dish is a little too mild for you, consider using some hot peppers in place of some of the red bell pepper.  Lastly, to really complement the dish and absorb all the great juices, make some simple cheese quesadillas.  Your family and friends will thank you.    

Campfire Recipe:  Mexican Pumpkin Chili


Spray or liquid oil

2 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1 small onion

1 red bell pepper

2 cloves of fresh garlic

1 pound of ground beef or turkey

2 14.5 cans of diced tomatoes with jalapenos

15 ounce can of pumpkin

8 ounce can of tomato sauce

15 ounce can of beans, variety your choice

1 can of whole kernel corn

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon of cumin

½ teaspoon of ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon of brown sugar



  1. Build fire to prepare the coals.
  2. Lightly grease a 10 inch Dutch oven with a liquid or spray oil.
  3. Chop onion, and red bell pepper.  Set aside.
  4. Peel and chop the fresh garlic and set aside.
  5. Place grilling rack on top of the fire and spread out the prepared coals.
  6. Place 10 inch Dutch oven on grilling rack and add the vegetable or olive oil.
  7. Put the chopped onion, red bell pepper and garlic inside the Dutch oven.
  8. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  9. Add ground meat and cook until done.
  10. Drain fat off of meat.
  11. Add tomatoes, pumpkin and tomato sauce to the 10 inch Dutch oven.
  12. Drain the beans and add to Dutch oven.
  13. Measure ½ cup of whole kernel corn.  Add to Dutch oven.
  14. Add chili powder, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
  15. Put lid on 10 inch Dutch oven and move to a heat resistant surface.
  16. Arrange 10 coals in a circle on the heat resistant surface.
  17. Place Dutch oven on top of this circle of coals.
  18. Cover the lid with 20 prepared coals.
  19. Cook for 30 minutes.