It’s another rainy, gray day. Although I will admit it was an absolutely gorgeous weekend. Sunday hovered in the 60’s and with the sun shining we took full advantage of it and ate outside.
So I guess my dinner doesn’t really match the weather, but it’s technically only the beginning of March – still perfectly fine for chili time.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I love butternut squash. The sweet savoriness of it just works for me. I tend to roast it to really bring out the natural sugars so it was great to experiment with it as a chili ingredient.
I also hate trying to peel a butternut squash. All those people/videos online make it sounds sooo easy, like you can just take a peeler to it and be done. I’m not sure what kind of razor sharp ninja peeler they’re using but it never worked for me. The squash, scoffed, yes scoffed, at my poor peeler.
I even tried just doing it chef/santoku knife style but that took forever – 10 to 15 minutes of squash cutting and I felt like I was losing a lot of the squash in the process. Now this is probably partly due to my need to upgrade my knife skills but still, way too much work.
UNTIL…I read a trick online.
Here’s what you do. Take a knife and make jabs all over the squash. You don’t want the cuts particularly deep but you really want to go a bit overboard as far as the amount. Excellent for frustration, although for safety’s safe, please be careful when you’re stabbing the squash.
Then pop it in the microwave for three to four minutes and let it go. After that, it’s super easy to peel and your vegetable peeler will make quick work of it. If it’s still super hard to peel you can throw it in the microwave for another minute, although be careful since you’re not trying to cook the squash, or it’s time for a peeler upgrade.
But let’s get back to this post.
So butternut squash, mixed with beef and beans and tomatoes and jalapenos and spices? Hello, meaty, savory, hint of sweet deliciousness. For garnish I really kicked up the heat with a bit of habanero jack but as it stands the chili isn’t that spicy. If you’re a spice wimp feel free to completely omit the chipotle chili powder and either de-seed the jalapenos or get rid of them all together.[divider_flat]
- ¾ lb at least 95% lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium green pepper, diced
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 2 cups de-seeded and chopped tomato (about 3 – 4 romas)
- 2 cups chopped peeled butternut squash (about 1 small)
- 1 jalapeno, finely diced (can de-seed for less heat)
- 2 cups beef stock or water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 cup kidney beans
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup shredded cheese (optional)
- 1 ½ Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
- Heat 1 tsp canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Sauté the beef, green pepper and onion until browned, stirring and crumbling.
- Add in tomato through garlic (tomato, butternut squash, jalapeno, stock, paste, oregano, cumin, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper, garlic and kidney beans) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes or until squash is tender, stirring occasionally.
- Divide evenly between four soup bowls and garnish each with cheese (optional), green onion and cilantro.
Linked At the NewlyWed Recipe Linky