Cold Rain. Warm Food.

The weather is just strange this year. We had the "endless summer" and then someone flipped the switch to "cold rain." Inches and inches of rain. And the cold...while we are still waiting on a new furnace.
Our dinner-with-TV group didn't let that stop anything. We just took appropriate measures—rain jackets, careful driving—and we all arrived safely. With food. It was my turn to bring the main dish. And this kind of night called for something that warmed us up. Chili and cornbread sounded good to me. So I made a double batch of turkey pumpkin chili. Turkey? Pumpkin? These friends were all curious when I told them what I was bringing.
I promise no one would know it has pumpkin in it unless you tell them. It's a rich, thick chili with a mild flavor. It is the easiest chili I've made. The hands-on part is only browning the meat and chopping the onion. The rest is just stirred together. And then it cooks in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. That's it.
It's the recipe that Mommy discovered years ago and it has become her standard Halloween night supper. I made it at her house a couple of weeks ago when my visit there included Halloween festivities. I've made it several times myself but as it often happens, I had forgotten about this recipe. It was last posted here in 2011. I'm happy it's moved back up in the recipe rotation.
I made one recipe in the crockpot and looked at it and decided that maybe that wasn't enough. So later in the day I went back to the store. Bought more turkey, beans and pumpkin and made a second batch on the stovetop. Then stirred them together. The part that didn't fit in the pot went into the freezer for later.
2 lb. ground turkey 
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (I use the jar kind)
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder (more or less, to taste)
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree (not the pie filling kind)
2 (15-oz) can great northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 (4-1/2 oz) can chopped green chiles
2 cups chicken broth (sometimes I add a little more)
Optional toppings: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, minced cilantro, etc.
Heat large skillet over high heat. Add turkey and cook, breaking it apart, until done, about 5 minutes. Add to Crockpot. Add oil to skillet, then onions and garlic. Saute about 3-4 minutes. Add cumin and saute another minute. Add to Crockpot.
Add beans, pumpkin puree, green chiles, chili powder, oregano, salt and bay leaves. Stir to mix. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.  Remove bay leaves before serving.
If you want to skip the Crockpot, make it in a large pot on the stovetop. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for about an hour or so, stirring occasionally.
And a bowl of chili needs warm cornbread to go with it. I like all cornbread and corn muffins. But this has to be my favorite recipe.
1/2 cup vegetable oil (plus extra for greasing the pan)
1-3/4 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
1 cup cream-style corn 
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream (the light kind works just as well)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 7x11-inch baking pan or a 10-inch cast iron skillet with cooking oil. Preheat the pan in the oven. 
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring with a spoon until combined. Pour batter into the preheated pan. Place pan in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
You can also bake this in a muffin pan. I don't preheat the muffin pan. Makes 12 muffins. Bake for about 25 minute, or until golden brown.
If you have leftover cornbread, wrap it well and pop it in the freezer for a busy day later. 
This weekly TV watching wasn't intended to be a forever thing. But when we reached the end of A Place To Call Home, everyone wants to find a new show and keep the fun going. It's been so nice to spend a comfortable evening with good friends nearly once a week. 
As we count our blessings while we prepare for Thanksgiving, let us say a prayer for the victims of the horrific fires in California, the people who are fighting those fires and those who are caring for the thousands of newly homeless people.