Sunday, January 30, 2011

Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash

It is chili season. As you might be able to tell, I just got a new month of Bon Appetit magazine. When I saw the recipe for black bean chili with butternut squash, I was immediately intrigued but then got nervous as I was cooking. What would it taste like? What exactly is bulgur? Why bother with a vegetarian chili?

But-- there was no need to worry! Dinner with my roommate this evening was as close to silent as we get (for those of you who know us, we are very talkative). Our chatter was replaced with lots of "mmmm" "yum" "great flavor" and "mmmm" (repeat). This is a very healthy chili but has a wonderful flavor. I cut the recipe in half, but feel free to double it if you are cooking for a large group.

Vegetarian Chili (adapted from Bon Appetit)

What You Need

- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes (I just used a normal can of whole tomatoes)
- 1/2 pound dried black beans, rinsed
- 2 chipotle chiles from canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
- Coarse kosher salt to taste
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1.5 cups) (any winter squash will do)
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking bulgur (this was my first time using it!)
- Sour cream
- Coarsely grated hot pepper Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
-Diced red onion
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Pickled jalapeño rings

What You Do

1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
3. Add garlic; stir 1 minute.
4. Sprinkle chili powder and coriander over; stir 1 minute.
5. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, chipotles, and oregano. (Note: we started cooking the beans about 1.5 hours before. I added in the nearly finished beans with the water they were cooking in at this point).
6. Add 3 cups water (if you are adding uncooked beans, add 5 cups water).
7. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours (time will vary depending on freshness of beans-- since ours were almost finished, I let it cook for 30 minutes more).
8. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
9. Stir squash and bulgur into chili.
10. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until squash and bulgur are tender, about 40 minutes (recipe said 30 but the squash wasn't ready yet).
11. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
12. Divide chili among bowls.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, red onion, cilantro, and pickled jalapeño rings. Enjoy with plenty of "mmm" "yum" "great flavor" "mmmm".

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