since I overcooked my best batch the other day, obliterating my pumpkin into mush. Tasty mush, but mush none the less! And if I wanted a smooth and creamy chili (not to mention really sweet!) it would have been perfect. But I wanted chunky pumpkin chili! Anyway, I knew I had done it before I opened up the pressure cooker because I've been using Kabocha so much, and I should have known better than to cook it and then leave it in the PC (unopened) for hours...dumb.
What I like about the Kabocha is that it will stay very firm unlike Butternut squash, sweet potato, purple yam, or most any other kind of squash. Carrot and certain waxy potatoes will stay firm also, but I will save the carrots and potatoes for another kind of stew, not chili. This morning I had to confirm it though! So with the last of my lentils I made one last small (yeah right) batch. I used what I had in my kitchen to experiment, which was Butternut, sweet potato, purple yam, and Delicata. I had peeled them all the other day so the prep didn't take long at all. As I suspected they all are too delicate, when cooked, to maintain their chunky form, but I gingerly lifted them out of the chili for the picture. I'm going to let the chili cool down with the vegetables as they are and maybe they will retain some of their size. I know, without a doubt, if I had stirred this pot of chili while hot all of them would have turned into a smooth chili....which again is fine if that's what you want.
Personally, and I'll write more about this when I finally post the recipe (s), I wanted to keep the vegetables chunky instead of using meat to make this meal vegetarian/vegan (more about that too!).
Just a couple more things....
I used a smokey salt to see if that gave it more depth. Not sure if it did because I didn't make a batch without! This smokey salt is typically used as a "finishing" salt. In other words it's meant to sprinkle a pinch on top of maybe a deviled egg, or a piece of chocolate, etc. Not to season a pot of chili! But I had it, and since I wanted to make this a vegetarian meal using smoked ham stock was not an option.
I also wanted to explain real quick why I chose lentils over beans, and why I used red and brown. Red lentils break down, never keeping their shape, while brown lentils will always keep their shape, and it's the red lentils that I knew wold give the chili the smooth consistency I wanted....unless I overcooked the veg! So, the goal was to have the red lentils create smoothness, the brown lentils to keep their shape and the chunky pumpkin (squash or potato) to replace the meat. Make sense?
Okay, more pictures and chili experiment finding in the next post!