Fully embrace autumn with a bowl of hearty chili, filled with seasonal vegetables, apples, beans and warming spices.
And suddenly summer was over just like that. Hopefully everyone had their fair share of sunshine, camping, and swimming the past few months, accompanied by fresh cherries, peaches and plenty of ice cream. As sad as it is for the warm weather to be gone again for another year, thankfully autumn has a colorful bounty of fruits and vegetables lined up for us to soften the blow of summer leaving us.
Chili has got to be one of my favorite comfort foods that doesn’t involve mashed potatoes. Any dish that contains beans, spice and more vegetables per bite than a snail has teeth, is guaranteed to make a regular appearance in my diet.
Recently, I got a free armload of corn thrown at my feet (literally), and a wave of ideas began flowing through my head. After two days in a row of pouring down rain, the decision was final; chili had to be made. It’s nice when the weather helps guide your food choices, especially when you’re as indecisive as me and take longer to figure out what to make, than you actually do cooking it. So, thanks rain!
Chili is easily customizable, depending on what you have on hand. The butternut squash can easily be substituted for pumpkin or sweet potato, and even using pear instead of apple would be a pleasant flavor to go along with this dish.
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil or other oil
- 2 small Sweet Onions diced (or 1 medium)
- 4 cloves of Garlic 2 Tbsp when minced
- 2 Celery Stalks finely diced
- 1 small Butternut Squash peeled and cut into ¾" cubes
- 1 large Carrot peeled and diced
- 1 Green Pepper seeds removed and diced
- 1 Apple cored, seeds removed and diced
- 1 can 798ml diced Tomatoes, (or 2 cups fresh)
- 1 can 540ml Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can 540ml Black Beans or Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 ears of Corn (1 cup corn kernels, can also use frozen)
- 2 cups Vegetable Broth
- 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 2 Tbsp Cumin
- 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- ¾ -1 tsp Sea Salt will vary depending on salt amount in broth
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and saute 5-7 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the celery, carrot, squash, green pepper and apple. Stir. Cook for 7-8 minutes until they begin to soften. If they start sticking to the bottom, add a splash of water and stir.
Add the spices, stir and cook for a minute. Pour in the tomatoes and their juices, beans, corn and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and place lid on halfway to allow liquid to reduce. Check on it often and stir.
Let simmer for 30-40 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if desired.
*The smaller you cut the squash, the faster it will cook. If you want bigger chunks, add the squash in at the same time as the onions so they finish cooking with the other vegetables.
**Start with the lesser amount of salt listed. I used a homemade broth that wasn't overly salty, in combination with beans and tomatoes containing no salt at all. So you may need more or less depending on your ingredients.