As I walked through the park on Saturday, I noticed the familiar scent of crunchy leaves. There were actually a few underfoot, but the seasonal tides have finally started to turn and the air has that familiar, yet comfortable chill that has me breaking out and buying new hoodies. And, as I prepared this afternoon for a little Lions football action, I came to the quick realization that the event called for real fall fare.
The weeks ahead, however, will find me traveling for work, and as is usually the case, I don’t shop, so I’m limited to what I have on hand. It’s a challenge I actually appreciate more often than not and today’s recipe landed me with a butternut squash chili. It is D-I-V-I-N-E!
As it cooked, I had a wicked craving that this delicious stew could really only be served with cornbread. I started with one from the Happy Herbivore Cookbook and adjusted it ever so slightly (swapping the maple syrup for agave, adding in 1 cup of frozen corn kernels, a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, and a couple quick dashes of black pepper). The truth is, I may have been unnaturally excited about the prospects of the cornbread… I could barely wait for it to cool enough coming out of the oven. At least good sense won over a burnt mouth. The pairing of the two is exactly what I needed to fuel my night of football. This may be a Sunday stable for at least a few weeks.
Butternut Squash Chili
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded & minced
1 large Cuban oregano leaf, minced (or tablespoon oregano)
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1 1/2 cups cannellini beans
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
- In a medium stock pot, line bottom with water (or vegetable stock). Over high heat, add onions, garlic, oregano, and jalapeno and saute until onions are translucent, adding more water/stock as needed. About 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes. Stir in sugar, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, and black pepper.
- Add squash, corn and beans after about 5 minutes and reduce heat to low/simmer. Allow to simmer uncovered to desire consistency, stirring occasionally. (Depending on the water content of the tomatoes, should reach a nice stew/chili consistency after about 20-30 minutes.)