Sunday, October 3, 2010

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Veggie Chili

A rainy day in Reno inspired me to make a batch of chili for dinner tonight.  I'd already picked up a few kinds of squash at the grocery store this morning (it was on sale... I can't help myself) and remembered that a friend had mentioned to me that she likes to put squash in her chili.  I always forget that zucchini is technically a squash - which is what she uses - but I decided to try the butternut squash I already had on hand.

Be careful peeling your squash if you use one with a firm peel (like butternut).  I used my sharpest knife and still struggled a little with it.  Cut it into manageable pieces and scoop out the seeds first.  I rinsed the seeds in cold water to remove the pulp, dried them on a paper towel, and roasted them at 275 degrees with a spritz of olive oil and a little salt for just over 15 minutes (like you may have done with seeds left from pumpkin carving).

Tonight's batch of chili is based on the recipe I normally use from the Amateur Gourmet site.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped (or ~1 small)
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 12 oz beer (all we had was Coors, but usually I use an amber ale)
  • 3 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • scant tablespoon ground coriander
  • scant tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chiles in adobo sauce, chopped*
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

For a firmer squash like butternut, you'll want to steam it to soften it up a bit before putting the chili together.  I steamed mine for about 8 minutes: 

Sauté the onion and jalapeño in the olive oil for a few minutes, until soft.  Then combine with the rest of the ingredients.  

Simmer away on the stove for as long as you can resist: 

I heat it up enough to just start to boil, then put the lid on and leave on a low heat for a few hours.

We garnished with sour cream and shredded smoked gouda.  It would be good with other cheeses, cornbread, crackers, chopped mild onion... anything you normally like with your chili. 

*A note on the chiles in adobo sauce:  These are extremely hot.  Two tablespoons is only going to be a small portion of the can they come in.  My chili turned out a little spicier than I planned.  They do give a nice smoky, spicy flavor to the chili so I wouldn't skip them.  Just be aware that for the heat-averse you might dial back the amount.  I freeze what's left from the can in an ice cube tray lined with plastic wrap.  Each "cube" is about the amount I use in each pot of chili.  Transfer them to a freezer-safe bag once they're frozen so they can be thawed out and chopped as needed.

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