Finding myself with a surfeit of pumpkin from the garden, and a craving for chilli, I searched around until I found this recipe. It really is a delicious combination, and you won't even notice that this is not a 'con carne'. That said, I love to throw in a little chorizo or bacon to smoke things up a bit. I modified the ingredients slightly, since I don't know what was in their 'chilli powder', but I assume you wouldn't want an Indian-style chilli powder, and that's all that's available here. You can leave this in the fridge for a few days and the flavours will keep developing.
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 red or green peppers, chopped
- 750g butternut squash or eating pumpkin, peeled and chopped
- 100g of smoked bacon or cured chorizo, finely diced (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- 1/2 to 1 tsp chilli flakes (up to you)
- 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 can diced tomatoes, including the liquid
- 2 cans kidney or black eye beans
- 300-500ml vegetable stock
- 2 avocados
- sour cream (optional)
- crispy tortilla strips
- fresh leaf coriander (optional, for garnish)
In a large Le Creuset or sauce pan, sautée the chopped vegetables (onion, pepper, squash, garlic) and bacon or sausage, if using, in one to two tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add all of the spices canned ingredients and stock, and stir. Don't use all of the stock if it looks like it will make the chilli very runny, but feel free to top up as it cooks if it looks too dry. Cover for about one hour, stirring occasionally.
By the time your chilli is done, the butternut squash should be nice and tender and the liquid should have reduced a bit, producing the hearty chilli consistency that we all know and love. Serve the chilli in individual bowls, topped with diced avocado and sour cream, if using. Use the strips to eat mouthfuls of chilli!