I'd made chili in the past with butternut squash it in but, was disappointed that the squash favor was overpowered by the other ingredients. This time I tried something different & roasted the squash separately, adding it to the chili at the end. Plus, I coated the squash cubes in a little maple syrup before roasting them to add some sweetness. This was totally the ticket! The squash retained its own squashy flavor which is perfect with chili seasonings. The biggest surprise to me was how much we liked the sweetness of the maple syrup & apple cider in the chili & how it played against the spiciness of the jalapenos & cayenne. Sweet & spicy chili is definitely something we'll be experimenting with again.
Bison & Butternut Squash Chili
(I used bison in this chili because we had a pound in the freezer but lean ground beef would be a perfect substitute.)
1 c dried black beans
1 1/2 lb butternut squash, seeded, peeled & cubed
2 T maple syrup
1 T vegetable oil
1 lb ground bison (or lean ground beef)
I medium onion, chopped, about a cup
1 large clove garlic, chopped
3 jalapenos, seeded & chopped
1 t kosher salt
1 t Mexican oregano
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1 14/5 oz can tomatoes
1/2 c apple cider
Simmer the dried beans in 3 1/2 c water in a covered saucepan until tender, about 2 hours. Set aside. Do not drain.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Mix the butternut squash & maple syrup together in a small roasting pan. Roast in the oven until tender, about 25 - 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large heave pot over medium-high heat. Add the bison & cook through. Stir in the onion, garlic & jalapenos. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the salt, oregano, cumin & cayenne then cook while stirring for a minute. Add the beans including the cooking liquid, tomatoes including juice & apple cider. Bring to a simmer. Let simmer until thickened, about 1/2 hour.
Add the roasted butternut squash & serve with sour cream & hot sauce is desired.
Makes 5 - 6 servings.
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