Monday, February 17, 2014

Meatless Monday: Sweet, Savory, and Oh, So Satisfying Butternut Squash Chili

Sorry Texans, who reside where chili has been the official state food since 1977.  I swear I can hear you groaning. According to the rules of the International Chili Society Cookoffs, chili is “any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden.” 

This recipe has no meat and plenty of beans. Call it what you will, Butternut Squash Chili from the Winter Issue of Edible Boston, one of the Edible Communities publications, is the perfect comfort food for yet another chilly winter Monday in New England.

Loyal Edible Boston reader, Anne Marie Rossi of Natick, received “a lot of winter squash” in her CSA and experimented by using it in her chili. Following is the recipe she shared.

Butternut Squash Chili 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1½ pound butternut squash (or other winter squash), peeled and cubed
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cups cooked pinto beans, or 2 cans drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • In a large pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the squash, celery, and the remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.  If you don’t want your beans to be mushy, add them during the last few minutes of cooking.
  • Serve warm with brown rice or cornbread on the side.

A bowl from the batch I made. Don't you love the color?

I made a few small tweaks to Anne Marie’s recipe. 
  • I used 1 tablespoon of Penzey’s 9000 Chili Powder (a bold salt free blend of ancho chili pepper, cumin, garlic, cilantro and a number of other ingredients including cocoa, cloves, jalapeno pepper, and cardamon) and omitted the cumin. I also cut the salt to 1 teaspoon.
  • I also used my favorite Muir Glen Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes, which I was very happy to learn are now in BPA-Free cans
  • I found that 40 minutes was not quite long enough for my squash to get totally tender. I suggest letting it simmer for 1-1/2 hours if you have the time.
  • Finally, I served it atop Annie’s Mac and Cheese, the organic whole wheat variety. 
Butternut squash is a very good source of vitamins A and C, potassium and manganese, is a good source of vitamins E and B6, thiamin, niacin, folate, calcium, and magnesium, and is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. No wonder it’s the first food for so many babies.

Have you heard of the Edible Communities publications? These award-winning magazines “Celebrate Local Foods. Season by Season.” Check out the website and see if there is one for your area. The magazines are often distributed for free at Whole Foods Markets and farmer’s markets. You can also subscribe. That way you will never miss an issue! 

Thanks to my friend Pam for sharing the recipe and the info on the BPA-free cans.

Have a great week. Stay warm. Eat well.

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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