In a roundabout way, winter was the impetus for my husband and I fleeing the frozen tundra (a/k/a Stamford, CT) and relocating back to the Atlanta area. Now that we’re pretty much settled in, we’re having New England flashbacks. Don’t be fooled, people: it gets COLD here in the south. I needed a way to combat that frigid air that was blowing up my skirt, stat. I turned to chili.
Chili is an odd choice for me to make for Meatless Monday because I’m not a huge fan of it. However, I wanted something hearty, filling and delicious, so, with a little help from the internet, I kicked my creativity into overdrive and got to work on what I have dubbed Hearty Butternut Squash and Two Bean Chili. All modesty aside, this was a gloriously fine pot of chili — enough so that I had two heaping bowlfuls. While my creation was meant to be a meal for one (my husband is in Brussels on business so I’m flying solo), I still made enough for leftovers — this chili freezes really well (and my husband will have a chance to try it when he returns from Europe). Winter’s here for a bit longer; why not warm your insides with a hearty bowl of chili? Bon appetit!
Butternut Squash Two-Bean Chili
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium sweet red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 1 15-ounce can whole black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 16-ounce cans stewed tomatoes, roughly chopped (reserve approx. 1/2 cup of the juice)
- 1 8-ounce tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cilantro past (I use Gourmet Garden Cilantro Herb Blend)
- Shredded cheddar cheese
In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers and squash; sauté, stirring occasionally, until squash is crisp-tender. Add minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in beans, tomatoes, 1/4 cup of reserved juice from stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar and cilantro paste. Bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45-60 minutes (check butternut squash; it should be fork tender, but not mushy). Occasionally stir to prevent chili from sticking to the pot. If desired, add the remaining reserved tomato juice from the stewed tomatoes. When chili is done, ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese before serving.