Well Dined


Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Chili

I saw this recipe on the Food Network while getting my nails done and immediately wanted to make it. We didn't have any plans for Halloween night, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. It turned out to be a pretty fortunate decision, because Jasper came up with the idea to invite some friends over to play a horror board game at the last minute (read 5PM Halloween night). I had already started making the chili and I knew it would be great for a crowd. Funny thing was, we hadn't seen each other in so long that we wound up talking all night and never getting to the board game!

The last time I made chili, Jasper said that he would like to have some chunks of beef in there as well. So I really liked that this recipe included both ground beef and cubes of beef (though these turned out to be a bit too big, I should have cut them in half). I decided to throw in some white beans to bulk it up a bit for the crowd.

I also decided to throw in a can of pumpkin puree since I had some on hand - it thickened the chili and added to the fall theme.

I served the chili with some tortilla chips made from corn tortillas sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice. They were nice and crisp and perfect for dunking in the chili, and the spice brought out the flavors of the chili.

Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Chili
adapted from Sunny Anderson
serves 8

1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp dry oregano
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb beef chuck or stewing meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 lb ground chuck (80-percent lean)
1 can of pumpkin puree
2 tbsp fine cornmeal
1 1/2 cups red wine (recommended: any inexpensive Chianti)
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 (1 1/2 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 can of white beans, rinsed and drained

In a small bowl combine the cumin, chili powder, pumpkin pie spice, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

In a large pot over medium heat add the olive oil, beef cubes and half of the seasoning. Cook until the beef is browned on all sides, but not cooked through; remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, and tomato paste. Stir and cook until everything turns a dark reddish brown, about 10 minutes. Add the ground beef and sprinkle over the remaining seasoning. Stir and cook until beef is browned then add the reserved beef chunks back to the pot along with the pumpkin puree, cornmeal, wine, stock, and the squash. Raise the heat until it comes to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cover and cook until the beef is tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover, add the beans, and let the chili cook another 15 minutes, until it is nice and thick.

Serve with Spiced Tortilla Chips
6 corn tortillas
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
Kosher salt

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Brush oil on one side of tortillas, stack them and cut into quarters. Arrange on a baking sheet and sprinkle pumpkin spice and a pinch of salt over the top (sprinkle from at least 12 inches above the baking sheet for even coverage of the small amount). Bake until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes.

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