Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vegetarian Butternut Squash and Beer Chili with Optional Ground Turkey

I realize that I love chili perhaps more than your average vegetarian.  No, I don't put meat in mine, but seriously there is just something about a big, hot bowl of chili, maybe with some rice and sour cream and cheese.  I've made vegan chili and crockpot black bean and quinoa chili, and one more recipe coming up to still share, and frankly never met a meatless chili I didn't love.  I was pretty excited when I found this recipe, which was a little different from the others due to the addition of butternut squash and beer.  Um, yes please.

This chili has a lot of flavor going on - more than your average chili.  I have now made two chilis from this same blog, and both of them have more than your average chili powder.  It gives it a super rich chili flavor, if that makes sense.  Then of course, there's the slightly sweet squash tossed into the mix.  Plus there's carrot, bell pepper, and pinto beans, and as for the spices?  Get ready: garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and my secret obsession, smoked paprika.  Plus beer.  Are you drooling yet?

Mark and I both loved this chili and devoured it for dinner.  Then we both ate it for lunch until it was gone!  We loved sprinkling some cheddar cheese on top, and I stirred some sour cream into mine.  Mmmmm.

Oh, and here is the coolest part.  This is from my new favorite blog, Kitchen Treaty.  I've told you about her before.  She is a vegetarian who married a carnivore, so she has a section on her blog called One Meal, Two Ways.  She tells you at what point in your dish's cooking you should split the food in half, add meat to one half, and keep the other vegetarian.  Genius!  The funny thing is, even though I have made a few of her recipes, every time I get ready to toss meat into Mark's half, he tells me not to bother!  I think he is secretly a vegetarian too :)  So this chili has the option of adding ground turkey to all or half of the dish.  Use that information as you wish; I'm telling you it doesn't need meat, but the carnivores of the world may disagree.  The beauty of this recipe is that it's up to you to meat it up or not!


vegetarian butternut squash and beer chili
from Kitchen Treaty
serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
1 tablespoon diced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced butternut squash
1 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1/2 large pepper)
1 cup grated carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
4 cups (or 2 15-ounce cans) cooked pinto beans, drained
1 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 cup American lager, blonde, or IPA beer
more kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
if adding ground turkey to half (optional):
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound ground turkey
pinch kosher salt
if adding ground turkey to all (optional):
1 pound ground turkey
2 - 3 teaspoons olive oil
pinch kosher salt


1) In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and spices (chili powder cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika) and stir for another minute.  Add the remaining ingredients - butternut squash, red pepper, carrots, beans, tomatoes, and beer- and, keeping the pan on medium heat, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, until squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes.

2) If adding turkey, brown in a medium saucepan over medium heat with olive oil and pinch of salt until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  If only including turkey in half, remove about 2 1/2 cups of the chili from the vegetarian batch and add it to the turkey.  Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes.  If including turkey n all, you can just pour the browned turkey in with the chili and the end of the process, or you can add it when you add the squash and other ingredients.

3) Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.  Serve with shredded monterey jack cheese, sour cream, and diced avocado for topping.  You can also serve it over rice.

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