Knoxville, TN

Recipe: Cinnamon/Pumpkin/Apple Chili


  • 1 pound of ground turkey or beef
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 jalapenos (or other type of pepper), diced
  • about 1 pound of dry beans (I usually use half a bag of red beans + half a bag of black beans)
  • 2 12oz bottles hard apple cider (I typically use Hardcore, since it’s more crisp than sweet)
  • half of a 15oz can of pureed pumpkin
  • apple cider vinegar (to taste)
  • about 1-2tsp each of cinnamon, smoked paprika, and chili powder (I’ve never measured this exactly, so it’s really to taste)
  • other spices to taste (I usually throw in salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, rosemary, and coriander, but I’m a bit of a cargo cult cook when it comes to spice usage)


First, start soaking your beans. I usually do a quick soak/rinse: fill a pot with water, boil your beans on high for about 10 minutes, remove from heat, and sit covered for an hour. Once that’s done done, rinse them under running water in a strainer. After that’s done, boil them again until they’re tender.

While the beans are soaking, start dicing your peppers, onions, and jalapenos, and mince your garlic. If you don’t like your chili to be hot, remove the seeds from the jalapenos; otherwise, leave them in. You may want to cook the vegetables on the stove to remove some of the moisture before they go into the chili, but they should get tender enough cooking in the crock pot.

Brown the meat in a skillet. Here’s where I’ll usually toss in the cumin and rosemary. (Again, that’s cargo cult cooking that I’ve swiped from other recipes.)

Once all of the above are complete, put the beans, vegetables, and meat into the slow cooker. Add one bottle of cider. Cook for several hours. (I usually leave it to cook overnight.)

Add the rest of the cider and the pumpkin. Add spices and vinegar to taste. Continue cooking for an hour or so.


  • Some type of pork (sausage, bacon, etc.) instead of beef or turkey.
  • If you want a non-alcoholic version, vegetable stock might work in place of apple cider. The cider taste isn’t overpowering, so the difference would be subtle.
  • I’ve left out the jalapenos entirely and just used a bit of cayenne pepper to add heat. This is good for those who don’t like hot chili.