Chili is one of those winter fallback dishes for us. We usually have stuff on hand to throw one version or another together & really they don't take that long to whip up. Plus a big steaming bowl of chili is so perfect for cold winter nights.
I was inspired to add squash to this batch of chili by Lori's Lipsmaking Goodness. I thought the sweetness of the squash would be a nice counterbalance to the other chili ingredients. To that we added a lot of our typical chili seasonings & used beer as a good portion of the liquid since we love the deep flavor it adds.
This was a pretty darn good chili but I was disappointed that the flavor of the squash didn't come through more. I think the problem might have been that I used delicata squash (because I had one one hand) & it tends to be delicately flavored. A butternut or acorn squash would probably have a flavor that stood out a little better.
Black Bean & Squash Chili
1 1/2 c dried black beans, sorted
1 T olive oil
2 c winter squash, peeled, seeded & chopped small
1 c red onion, chopped
4 shallots, chopped small
6 oz beer
1 large can whole tomatoes
1 c + chicken broth
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t ancho powder
big pinch of salt
About 2 hours before making the chili, put the beans in a large pot & cover with boiling water. Cover the pot & let sit until you are ready to put them in the chili, the beans should be about twice their size. Drain.
In a large heavy pot heat the oil over high heat. Add the squash, onions & shallots. Cook until everything starts getting brown & caramelized. Pour in the beer & use it to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Stir in all the remaining ingredients & the beans. Add enough chicken broth to just cover the everything. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat & cook until the beans are tender about 1 hour.
Top with sour cream if you wish.