Pumpkin brings sweetness and adds a velvety, melt-in-your mouth texture to traditional chicken chili. This recipe can be made in as little as an hour, but a longer, slower simmer session will maximize both flavor and tenderness. Save this for the weekends, and savor the mouth-watering aroma for hours.
Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and toss to coat the vegetables in the fat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
Make a space in the middle of the pot, add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon to the vegetables and stir until they are coated in the spices, and the spices are toasted and very fragrant, 1 minute.
Add a splash of broth to the pot to deglaze, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Nestle the whole chicken thighs into the vegetables, then add enough additional broth to just barely cover the chicken. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken using tongs, set onto a plate and allow to slightly cool, then shred or dice.
Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir into the vegetables and broth until smooth. Then add the bell pepper, diced tomatoes, pumpkin puree, cannellini beans, and cooked shredded chicken. Stir until all ingredients are throughly incorporated. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are soft, 20 minutes.
For a longer simmer that will result in more complex flavor, proceed through step 5, but do not add the beans. Instead, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours, stirring every half an hour or so and checking on liquid content (you may need to add a bit more broth). Add the beans in last 15 minutes of cooking.
Ladle the chili in soup bowls and garnish as desired. This recipe keeps in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for five days, or in an airtight container in the freezer for three months.