At the risk of jinxing it all, it finally feels like Fall here in Southern California! I’m so happy that it’s finally cool enough for scarves and boots and sweaters. I mean, we still don’t get the leaves changing or anything like you see other places, but I’ll take it! Hopefully the 85/90 degree days are over for now.
Fall weather also means yummy, comforting Fall foods, like chili. You are all probably going to get sick of me posting chili recipes (like this one… and this one… and this one…), but let’s be honest. Chili is such a perfect cold-weather dinner. It’s also perfect for feeding a crowd and you can make it in your slow cooker. And you can pretty much just dump everything into the pot and leave it alone until it’s done. It’s such a lazy meal, but the results are always so scrumptious and satisfying. And, if you make it right, it can be a really healthy meal too.
This particular version actually started off as a vegetarian chili, but we had about ½ pound of ground beef that I needed to use, so I just threw it in here. You can easily leave it out and keep it vegetarian friendly, though. It’s so flavorful, no one would miss the beef, I promise.
I was pretty bad at measuring for this one (sorry!) so I’ll give you approximates. What’s so nice about chili, is you can put in more or less of all the ingredients based on what you like. Chili recipes are more methods than hard and fast rules.
Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili
2 Tablespoons olive oil (since I added ground beef to mine, I didn’t use any oil)
2 bell peppers, diced small
1 small onion, diced small
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 butternut squash, cubed (shortcut: buy the pre-cubed squash. It will make your life so much easier)
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 chipotle peppers
2 tablespoons adobo sauce
1 ½ cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth is fine too)*
¼ cup cornmeal*
Salt to taste
*optional. I’ll explain below.
I made this in my slow cooker, but you can just as easily do it on the stove top. You prep it the same way, you just keep it on a low simmer for a few hours, stirring regularly.
If your slow cooker doesn’t have an insert that can be used on a stove top, just use a pan for the saute part and transfer it to the slow cooker insert. Mine can be used on the stove top, so that’s how I’ll write my instructions. OK, finally we get to it!
Over medium heat, add your olive oil, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Add a little salt and saute until soft. (I omitted the oil and browned my beef instead. Then added the veggies). Then add your squash, beans, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce (that the peppers come in), broth and a little more salt (to taste).
Set your slow cooker to low for 8-10 hours (or high for 4 to 6). The longer this sits, the better it tastes, so don’t worry too much about the time.
Let me explain the cornmeal really quick before we finish this up. I checked the chili when there was about 2 hours left. It seemed really watery to me, so I added some cornmeal to thicken it up. It worked and it was delish. I would think that you could also just lessen the amount of broth you add so you don’t need the cornmeal. I only put the broth in because it seemed like it needed it at the beginning.