Beef and Pumpkin Chili Mole

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Beef and Pumpkin Chili Mole has got to be the queen of all fall stews, with tender bits of steak, chunks of fresh pumpkin, lots of peppers, both hot and sweet, black beans and an ultra rich broth of fire roasted tomatoes, beer, ancho chili and a touch of deep cocoa powder.  It’s a delicious mouthful.

This beef and pumpkin chili is inspired by the intense, complicated mole sauces from Mexico and Central America, it’s definitely not authentic, but calls upon some of their flavors.  You will not detect the chocolate, as such, in this dish, but combined with the chili powders it does give this stew an unusual complexity.

I love chili, it’s so easy to throw together and it can feed us for days.  It can be put together in the hour between coming through the back door with a bag of groceries, and sitting down at the table.  Or, better yet, made in the morning and refrigerated till dinner.

The ingredients are all commons ones.  You can substitute butternut squash if you can’t find a small pumpkin, and as for the fresh chili peppers, I’ll confess that I will usually go with whatever variety my store happens to have available.  I used a jalapeno for some heat, but the others are generally mild, and so I like to experiment.  I went with a yellow bell pepper for sweetness and color.

Ever since I created my Masa Harina Biscuits, they are my default pairing with chili.  This time I cut them into scone shapes and I like them better this way. The recipe is the same as for the biscuits, except I cut them into 8 scones instead of rounds.   Sometimes I will make chili just to have an excuse to enjoy these.

These are the uncooked scones, the cooked ones were gone before I could photograph them.  Trust me, they are the best thing you’ve ever tasted.

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2.67 from 6 votes

Beef and Pumpkin Chili Mole

Course Dinner Recipes, Entertaining, Fall, Gluten Free
Yield 4 -6


  • 1 lb steak or lean beef, cut in small bite sized chunks
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chili powder look for this next to the regular chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp smoked hot paprika
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper sliced, seeds and all
  • 1 anaheim pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 poblano pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 cups raw pumpkin peeled and cut in a large dice (you can also use butternut squash)
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 28 oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 heaping Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp masa harina
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 14 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed


  • Put the beef chunks in a bowl or a baggie and sprinkle with the chili powder and paprika. Massage the spices through the meat, and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium high and brown the meat on all sides. Remove the meat and any juices from the pan and set on a plate.
  • Heat the second tablespoon of oil in the same pot, and saute the onions and peppers for about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Add the beer to the pot and let it cook down for a couple of minutes. Then add the tomatoes, spices, along with the meat and juices back into the pot. Bring everything to a simmer.
  • Cook the chili, uncovered, gently for about 30 minutes until the squash is tender but not mushy.
  • Mix the masa harina with the water and add to the chili. Simmer for a minute or two while the chili thickens.
  • Add the black beans, bring back to a simmer, and taste for seasoning adjustments.
  • At this point you can cool and refrigerate the chili, or serve right away. But the flavor of the chili will improve as it sits.

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  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Amy (Savory Moments)
    November 14, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Oh boy! This looks fantastic! What a great autumn meal – so delicious and comforting….

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    November 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I want to sneak off with that whole pot all by myself. Those chunks of steak…the vibrant pumpkin…the rich broth. Sigh.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    November 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Oh my, that broth looks so rich and inviting. Lovely indeed!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I just added this to my Mouth Watering Mondays picks. It looks so warm and inviting.

  • Reply
    Debs @ The Spanish Wok
    November 5, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Fab, I always use chunks of beef in chilli too.

    Come check out The Monthly Blogger event over at The Spanish Wok, ALL bloggers are welcome. See here for details and current theme. You are also welcome to visit our FB page too here.

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    November 4, 2012 at 9:29 am

    With all my pumpkin I have left this could be a great dish to use it in. I must ask what is Mole?

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 5, 2012 at 1:38 am

      Moles are sauces from Mexico, each region has its own special recipes, but the most common one that we know about here in the US involves a blend of chilis and unsweetened dark chocolate.

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    November 4, 2012 at 12:15 am

    This looks FANTASTIC! I’m imagining it with sweet potatoes too, sometimes I’m too lazy to cut up a pumpkin and sometimes the pumpkins are over priced. I love everything about this chili!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 5, 2012 at 1:40 am

      You could definitely substitute sweet potatoes, or any other orange squash. Pumpkins are pretty hard to cut, I’ve got the scars to prove it! Actually, that little serrated gadget that they sell at Halloween for carving pumpkins is the best tool!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Great combination of flavors. The masa harina biscuits make it for me!

  • Reply
    l o v e l y t h i n g s
    November 4, 2012 at 2:09 am

    This looks amazing…I love the brightness of the fresh chives in the pot…gorgeous photos of what looks like a very delicious pot of chili! And Masa Harina scones…mmmmm!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      November 5, 2012 at 1:47 am

      I was surprised at how the pumpkin kept its color despite the cooking and deep spices, etc. It was pretty, and yes, those scones are the best things ever…

  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Dallas
    November 3, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Wow, it looks so good, I would love to come to dinner!

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    November 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    this actually LOOKS like the queen of all fall stews – the color! the pumpkin! the fact that i get to eat this with masa harina scones! i feel like i want this very, very soon. I love big, comforting stews and soups in the winter; probably my favorite thing to make on cold weekends.

  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    November 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Oh Sue, this looks fabulous! It’s also just what I need on this chilly New England Afternoon! Would you mind sending a bowl to me! LOL!!! I’m thinking those biscuits will go nicely with the beans I have in the oven!!