September 27, 2011

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

All in all, I rather like fall.  You can still grill outside pretty comfortably a good bit of the time, and it is cool enough that cooking will make your house more comfortable, not less so.   It's a great time of the year to start doing more baking and making hot soups, stews and chili.  Today's recipe is one example.

This chili doesn't include any meat.  Instead, it's based on one of the best fall vegetables, butternut squash.  This is just the thing to warm up a cool autumn day or evening.  It's rich, flavorful and hearty enough that you won't miss the meat.  Plus, it's easy to make.  It does take a fair amount of time to cook, but most of that time is spent with the pot simmering on the stove, which means you can spend most of the time doing something else - baking, perhaps, or even something outside the kitchen! - other than occasionally stirring. 

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

yield = 8-10 servings

2             tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2             large onions, chopped
3             hot chili peppers (cayenne or serrano), minced
2             tablespoons minced garlic
2             tablespoon2 hot chili powder
1             tablespoon ancho chili powder
1             tablespoon ground coriander
1             tablespoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed
1/2          teaspoon ground cumin
8             cups low-sodium chicken broth
2             cups water
2             cans (14.5 ounce) fire-roasted tomatoes
1             pound dried black beans, rinsed
1             tablespoon (packed) light brown sugar
1             butternut squash (2-3 lbs), peeled, seeded and
1/2          cup quick-cooking bulgar
1 1/4       teaspoon table salt
1             teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper (to taste)
               sour cream and grated cheddar cheese,
                    as toppings

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and chilis and cook until soft and beginning to brown.  Add garlic, chili powders, coriander, oregano, cumin, cook 30 seconds, then stir in. 

Add chicken broth, water, tomatoes, black beans and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer with lid slightly ajar, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender (about two hours). 

Stir in butternut squash, bulgar, salt and pepper and simmer uncovered until the squash and bulgar are tender (about 1/2 hour).   Serve in bowls topped with sour cream and cheese.

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