Friday, November 18, 2011

Butternut Squash Chili

After so many amazing months of getting great veggies from my CSA, I am so sad it has finally come to an end.  Mondays now come and go with no boxes of fresh produce.  However, I get to relive some of the last great pick-ups by writing them up here.  When I had a couple squashes to use, I turned to trusty Gojee and plugged in acorn and butternut squash (delicata squash is an easy substitute for butternut) and found a recipe for Cincinnati Chili from the Judicial Peach.  This recipe was for a regular chili, but had some squash, avocado and chocolate - how could I resist!

To begin, I started the long process of preparing the squash.  Luckily, delicata squash does not need to be peeled, so it cuts down on a lot of the prep, but stilled needed to be cubed.  The acorn squash, however, not only had to be cubed but also peeled.  Peeling a ribbed vegetable is not easy to say the least.

Finally, I got all the squash cubed and tossed it into a bowl.

Loads of squash
I then added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.

Once it was all mixed in, I put the squash on a baking sheet and sprinkled it with some brown sugar - because I am obsessed!  I allowed the squash to bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  About half way through I did toss it up to make sure it all cooked evenly.

Ready for the oven
While the squash was cooking and then cooling I started to get the rest of the chili going, which required quite a few spices:
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
Other ingredients included:
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground veal, pork and beef mix
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup low-sodium broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 heaping tablespoons semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Avocado 
Best of the Rest
To get started I chopped up the red onion.  In the meantime I added the some vegetable oil to the dutch oven and brought it to a medium high heat and added the ground meat.

Red Onion
Once the meat was almost browned and crumbled (about 3 minutes) I added the chopped onion and minced garlic.

I allowed all of these flavors to cook together for another three minutes.  I then added the tomato paste and all of the spices and cooked it for another minute or so.

Once all the spices and other smaller items were fully mixed, I added the broth, beans and tomatoes, stirred it all together and brought it to a boil, where I then turned the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Almost there...
The squash had finally cooled down a bit...

and the chili was done simmering.

To keep busy while the chili was simmering, I shredded the cheese, grated the chocolate and chopped up the avocado.  Our box grater broke, so I had to use a microplane - the cheese was definitely a lot finer than I normally would have liked!

Finally, the dish was ready to assemble!  I added the squash and the chocolate and gave it a big stir.

Ready to Serve!
To serve, I spooned a bunch of the chili into a bowl and topped it off with some chopped avocado and grated cheese.

Dinner is served!
I loved this chili!  The flavors all just worked.  I won't lie - I was totally suspect of adding the squash, and then to add the avocado and chocolate I was not sure what to expect.  In the end it really came together.  The squash added a lovely fall flavor, while the avocado added a freshness to the dish.  Both ingredients had such a fun texture.

This meal was such a great version of chili, I would highly recommend this to anyone, especially it you have some squash hanging around!

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  1. I love the idea of adding butternut squash to chili and I bet the avocado added a creamy cool contrast. Yum!

  2. that certainly does look like one amazing chili!!

  3. Sounds like a chili recipe I need to make when Jeff is not around. He's not a fan of squash or beans (and yet, I'm still marrying him). :) I know I would love this!

  4. this looks amazing. I have topped chili with avocado but never squash!

  5. Yum! I made pumpkin chili with butternut squash on Friday, and it is addictive. I can't wait to make it again.


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