Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vegetarian Chili with Butternut Squash

I HATE about you, Mr. Butternut Squash. You mock me. You say I cannot cut through your hard exterior, even with my largest bread knife or sharpest paring knife. Yes, you are so evil. Yet, I managed to cut you (after about 40 minutes of work). Thankfully this recipe was worth it.
While making this meal, roomie and I kept saying "this had better be the best freaking chili ever." In a way it was, in a way it wasn't. It was phenomenally delicious, but I don't know if it was chili. It was a soup? A stew? I don't know, but it was very hearty and very good. Oh, and bonus, it's good for you too. Lots of veggies in this one and little fat. Fantastic meal and it will be repeated.
We ended up using the top 1/2 of a 4 lb squash (because we didn't feel like going through the work of cutting the rest). I'd say it was the perfect amount, so a 2 lb squash would be fine too. Because the squash was REALLY hard, we thought it would be flavorless, but once cooked it was great. You just have to cut it first.

1)peel the part you want to use: we used a large vegetable peeler.
2)cut into large block (i found a large bread knife best, but even that was hard)
3)create small cubes using a small knife.
Tips for next time: Try using a frozen boxed squash instead if fresh. I can't guarantee it will be as good because i used the real thing, but it would sure be easier. This is a very versatile recipe, so feel free to play around with it. I did! Things I changed are noted on the recipe.
Vegetarian Chili with Butternut Squash
4 tsp. olive oil
1 medium butternut squash peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
3 medium carrots cut into 1/4 inch pieces (I used cut up 1 or 2 handfuls of baby carrots)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp chili powder (I used less)
2 garlic gloves, chopped
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces) plum tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes)
3 jalapeno chilis seeded and minced (I left these out)
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth (I used chicken and used a little extra)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cans black soybeans/black beans rinsed and drained (I used 1 can black beans)
1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves (omitted)
plain nonfat yogurt (optional, I used sour cream)
1. In nonstick 5-quart pot, heat 2 tsp oil over medium high heat until hot. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally until golden, 8-10 min. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
2. In same pan heat remaining 2 tsp oil. Add carrots and onion and cook stirring occasionally until golden about 10 min. Stir in chili powder and garlic, cook, stirring, 1 minute longer.
3. Add tomatoes with their juice, jalapenos, broth, sugar and salt. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring to break up tomatoes with side of spoon. Stir in beans and squash. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 30 minutes (because I cooked the squash a little extra at the begining, I only cooked about 15 min here)4. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro. Serve chili with yogurt, if you like.
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook: 50 minutes Makes: about 10 cups or 6 servings


Jess. said...


Man I am pumped the great chef tried my recipe! Cutting the squash sucked sooooo bad though!

Tart Reform said...

1st: Jess, if you made it LAST YEAR, you should not still have it in your freezer. That is not gonna taste as yummy when you dfrost is about 10 months later
2ndly: I was sure you didn't use fresh squash cuz roomie and I kept saying "Jess surely would have mentioned the hassle of this if she did use fresh squash. She probably used the frozen stuff..."
3rd: despite my anger about having to cut it, i thank you very much for the recipe. Would you mind mentioning what book it is from?

Jess. said...

Oh no it was a freaking pain in my booty to have to cut the fresh stuff...not a fun time...

I'm not 100% sure what book I got it from...I'll have to see if I can find it...but I think it was one I reviewed for my internship.

msgtdoug said...

Hi, enjoy your blog!

On the issue of peeling butternut squash... while a sharp knife is imperative, you might want to put the squash in your microwave for a few minutes.

Depending on the size of the squash and the power of your oven, I'd say go with about 2 minutes per pound. That should slightly soften it which makes it peel like a potato.

The other way would be in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. You should be able to get a fork to poke into it...

Virtual Memory Archive said...

Hi, I'm gonna try this recipe tonight because I have a ton of butternut squash from my farmshare. For future reference, the easiest way to deal with a tough squash is to put some holes or slits in it, put it in an oven-proof bowl with some water, and bake it for a long time. You can bake it at 400 or 425. The skin turns a bit brown when it's done. It's just like baking a pie pumpkin. Takes a lot of time but definitely makes the cooking process MUCH easier! 8-)

Tart Reform said...

I would like to note that I don't think baking it in water is a good idea for this recipe because you don't want a mass/mush, you want individual, solid chunks. Best way I have found is msgtdoug's idea: poke a few holes and then microwave a minute or two. Not too much, the squash will cook in the pan, but just a few minutes is enough to let you cut it.