Well, we in the Northeast had another crazy weather weekend. It started out on Saturday morning with the sun shining and a little breezy and then suddenly changed to snow squalls with almost white-out conditions and the temperature dropped and stayed that way all day and into Sunday.
When the weather gets like this my first instinct is to head to the kitchen for some comfort food. I don’t know what it is about the cold and snow but it makes me want to cook either bread, a stew, or a dessert.
I chose chili for Sunday afternoon.
I love all types of squash and I just purchased a butternut squash that I wanted to use. I looked around at the other ingredients I had on hand and decided to make chili. I had some canned beans, a little bit of fresh spinach (leftover from last night’s spanakopita melts), and some ground beef. So this was the perfect meal coming together nicely.
I also bought a jar of “Za’atar” spice recently (Za’atar is a Middle-Eastern spice combining oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds) and I wanted to use that in the dish as well.
I had two separate chili recipes and I combined what I liked from each one and added some of the spices I wanted to try. The following is my combined recipe. I hope you try it and enjoy it.
Butternut Squash Chili
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1-2 lbs. of ground beef (or turkey, pork whatever you prefer for chili)
- 2 bells peppers any color cut in strips
- 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and diced in bite size pieces
- 2 cans (14 oz) of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 32 oz of chicken broth (homemade or low sodium)
- 1 can (14 oz) black beans -no salt- rinsed and drained
- 1 can (14 oz) of garbanzo beans – no salt – rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsps. canned green chilis (found in Mexican section of grocer)
- 1 pkg of fresh spinach cut in strips (or a bag of fresh or frozen spinach) KALE or your favorite leafy green can be substituted
- 1/8 tsp Calabrian chili pepper paste or ground red pepper (Optional for a little heat)
Spices: mix together in a ramekin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp Hungarian paprika
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp Za’atar spice
- 1 tsp black ground pepper
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- Salt to taste
For garnish (optional)
- Green onions for garnish (optional)
- Sour cream for garnish (optional)
- pumpkin seeds (optional)
- Heat oil in a large pan, over medium heat. ADD the onions and peppers and sauté until soft (5 minutes). ADD the garlic and sauté 2 more minutes. ADD the Calabrian chili paste and tomato paste and sauté 1 additional minute until the onions are soft and all is incorporated
- ADD the ground meat and season with salt and pepper and break the meat with the back of a wooden spoon into medium pieces and cook until no longer pink.
- ADD the butternut squash and all the spices and mix well.
- ADD the roasted diced tomatoes and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- ADD the beans to the pot and mix well.
- Partially cover the pot and simmer on medium for 40 minutes.
- ADD the baby spinach the last 10 minutes to wilt.
- Adjust seasoning and serve with a dollop of sour cream and green onions and pumpkin seeds.
I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it and make it your own. Change the greens and beans to whatever you prefer, no recipe is set in stone.
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!
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