I love this chili. The combination of beef, butternut squash, ancho chiles and cilantro is a real winner in terms of taste, as well as nutrients. Don’t be afraid to make extra — it’s great reheated.
- 2 cups cooked kidney beans (see Tips) 500 mL
- 1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
- 1 lb lean ground beef 500 g
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 piece (2 inches/5 cm) cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp ground cumin 15 mL
- 2 tsp dried oregano 10 mL
- 1 tsp sea salt 5 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
- 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) no-salt added diced tomatoes including juice
- 3 cups cubed (1 inch/2.5 cm) butternut squash 750 mL
- 2 dried New Mexico, ancho or 2 guajillo chiles
- 2 cups boiling water 500 mL
- 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves 125 mL
- 1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and onions and cook, stirring and breaking meat up with a spoon, until beef is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon stick, cumin, oregano, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil.
- 2. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add squash and beans and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until squash is tender.
- 3. About an hour before recipe has finished cooking, in a heatproof bowl, soak dried chiles in boiling water for 30 minutes, weighing down chiles with a cup to ensure they remain submerged. Drain, reserving 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) of the soaking liquid. Discard stems and coarsely chop chiles. Transfer to a blender and add cilantro and reserved soaking liquid. Purée.
- 4. Add chile mixture to stoneware and stir well. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes, until mixture is hot and bubbly and flavors meld. Discard cinnamon stick.
- Use 1 cup (250 mL) dried kidney beans, soaked, cooked and drained or 1 can no-salt added (14 to 19 oz/ 398 to 540 mL) canned beans, drained and rinsed.
- If you prefer, soak and purée the chiles while the chili cooks; refrigerate until you’re ready to use.
Judith Finlayson http://judithfinlayson.com/