Saturday, August 20, 2011

Butternut Squash Chili

I love chili, all kinds of chili.  It is the ultimate comfort food for me.  Every Halloween my mother would always make a huge pot of chili and cornbread and we would eat it before going out trick or treating.  She would also make it during the summer with fresh veggies and serve it with a glass of milk.  This is my early fall chili:  chock-full of seasonal late summer and early fall veggies in place of beans.  I make my chili a little lighter than the traditional heavy winter chili and I freeze the leftovers in individual containers for an easy no-cook dinner later in the month.  Be sure to check out my Sweet Potato Cornbread recipe to finish off the meal.

Light and fresh seasonal chili makes fabulous leftovers too
1lb lean ground beef or turkey
2 sweet onions, peeled and diced
2tbs minced garlic
1tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1c diced or shredded carrots
4c butternut squash, cut into 1/2" cubes (I buy a pack of the precut squash and just throw it in)
1-14oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (Muir Glen of course!)
1 can tomato puree
2tbs chili powder
1/2tbs ancho chili powder
2tsp cumin (more to taste)
2tsp garlic powder (I usually put this in at the end if the minced garlic wasn't enough)
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp cayenne (omit if you don't like yours spicey!)
2tsp dried oregano 
2c beef or chicken stock
1 lime
1 large handful chopped cilantro
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Heat 1tbs of oil in a large skillet over medium high.  Add garlic and onion and cook until translucent.  Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spatula as you cook.
2. In a soup pot, add tomatoes and puree, spices, zucchini, carrots, butternut squash, broth and seasonings.  Add beef mixture.  Bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer 20 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Add the juice of 1 lime and a handful of cilantro.  Turn off heat.  Adjust salt and seasonings as needed.  Enjoy!

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