Winter Squash & Black Bean Chili
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Now that we are experiencing the blustery dark days of winter, there is nothing like a spicy pot of chili to warm your bones. I find this vegan recipe especially comforting, as this delicious heart-warming stew of sweet butternut squash, salted black beans and spicy chili pepper will make you forget that it’s cold outside. You can either make it on the stove top with canned black beans, or slow-cook them in the crockpot. I prefer the latter, because my kitchen is drafty in the winter and cooking a hot pot of beans all day makes it more comfortable.
1 lb. dry (or 2 cans prepared) black beans
1 large (2-3 lbs.) butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 T olive oil
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 pasilla pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dry oregano leaves
2 tsp salt
fresh cilantro leaves
If you are preparing the beans in the crock pot, soak them in filtered water overnight in a large, covered bowl. In the morning, drain the water and place them in the crock pot. Add enough filtered water to cover them by twice the amount, add 1 tsp salt, and cook on low for 8-10 hours. When finished cooking, drain and set aside.
Peel and dice the butternut squash with a heavy knife, discarding the pulp. Place in a baking dish, drizzle with 1 T olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes. This step can be done ahead of time if necessary, and the squash can be refrigerated for a day or two.
Heat a large stock pot on the stove top. Chop the onion, peppers and garlic (or process in a food processor) and saute with the remaining olive oil in the pot. Add the diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, spices, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the black beans (either canned or cooked) and the squash. Bring to another boil and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, top with fresh cilantro leaves, and serve.
Serving suggestion: pair with cornbread (recipe coming soon!)