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Saged Turkey, Lentil & Pumpkin Chili

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Chili can be loaded with protein and other good nutrients for you, but it’s even better when the ingredients are fresh. Beans are wonderful in chili, but canned beans are packed with sodium, and dry beans are too fussy with the soaking required. Dry lentils don’t require anything but a quick wash and are the best of both worlds.

Ingredients
1 small pumpkin, 4 cups (2 cans pumpkin can be used in a pinch, though this will yield a different end result)
dried savory, 2 tablespoons
agave syrup, 2 tablespoons
nutmeg, 1 tablespoon
ground rosemary, 1 tablespoon
cumin, 1 teaspoon
dried sage, 1 tablespoon
olive oil, 2 tablespoons
4 leeks (whites and some of the green tops), 3 cups, cut lengthwise and into thin slices
Turkey breast, 2¼ pounds, preferably bone-in
six large garlic cloves, 1/3 cup minced
kosher salt, 1 teaspoon
black pepper, 1 teaspoon
3 carrots, 1½ cups sliced into rounds
1 large red bell pepper, 1½ cups chopped
6 fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, 4½ cups chopped (plus liquid)
flat leaf parsley, ¾ cup minced
fresh sage, ¼ cup minced
fresh dill, ¼ cup minced
dry lentils, 2/3 cup
chicken stock, 2 cups
apple cider, 1 cup
balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons

Slice pumpkin in half. Scoop out pulp and seeds. Put pumpkin halves on a baking sheet, with the cut side down, and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Roast in 350-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pumpkin meat is soft and a fork will go easily into it, like a baked potato. Scoop the meat off the pumpkin rind; you should be able to peel the rind right off. Mash the meat and season it with the savory, agave syrup and nutmeg. Wash the pumpkin seeds, salt and roast until browned to use as garnish.

Remove the skin from the turkey breast and discard it. Take the meat off the bone and cut it into cubes. Reserve the bone. Season the turkey chunks with rosemary, cumin and dried sage.

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Saute leeks and turkey bone for 3 minutes, then increase to medium high heat and add turkey, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add bell pepper, pumpkin, tomato, parsley, fresh sage, dill, lentils, chicken stock, apple cider and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Cover and simmer on low heat or in 250-degree oven for 2 hours.

Presentation Idea: Complete the theme and take advantage of discarded ingredients! Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds for a perfect texture contrast, and top with a smattering of parsley leaves.