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Friday, February 6, 2015

Winter Squash and Bean Chili

This is a great use of winter vegetables.  Chili has tomatoes, which add a sourness that the winter vegetables counteract with their sweetness.  The beans and the squash have a similar firmness on first bite, but softness in the middle that blends well.  Finally, the richness of the chili flavor is still highlighted in a dish than a vegan can enjoy.
  • 3 c. cooked pinto beans
  • 1 onion,  chopped
  • 2 d carrots diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons or more ground chili 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup water
  • 2 cups diced winter squash (about 3/4 pound)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Grated cheddar or Monterey Jack, or crumbled queso fresco for garnish  if so desired
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy nonstick skillet and add the onion, carrot and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, stir together until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add the ground chili and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture begins to stick to the pan. Add the tomatoes and oregano, and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is beginning to stick to the pan, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste dissolved in water and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt to taste and simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick and fragrant.
  2. Add the beans. Add the winter squash and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring often, for 25 to 30 minutes. It is important to stir often so that the chili doesn’t settle and stick to the bottom of the pot. It should be thick; if you desire you can thin out with water. Taste and adjust salt.
  3. Shortly before serving stir in the cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon into bowls. If you wish, top with grated cheddar, Monterey jack, or crumbled queso fresco.

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