Monday, February 7, 2011

Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash

This recipe from the February issue of Bon Appetit caught my eye for several reasons. I like both black beans and butternut squash, which was the biggie. It also uses bulgur, of which I have quite a bit left from the tabouli, and chili powder, coriander, and oregano. Have you seen the photo of the spice cabinet??!

My problem with chili is my capsaicin allergy. I have to be careful not to eat anything labeled "3-alarm" and above. The stuff out of a can is mild, but all the flavor comes from salt. To increase the spice a bit, I didn't put in all of the onion at the beginning. I hoped that adding it closer to the end would leave a little bite in it by serving time.

A word about butternut squash. Really, peeled butternut? It's easy to scoop out baked or boiled squash, but peeling a raw one? I ended up slicing it into 1/2" rounds, then cutting the rind off each round before cutting into cubes. Kind of like peeling a melon. If anyone knows a faster, easier way to do it, please share!

If you decide to substitute canned black beans for dry, try to rinse off the salt. Cook the onions and garlic, then add all ingredients at once, instead of waiting two hours to add the squash and bulgur. And only add one cup of water. I don't recommend this, because you lose the slow-cooked flavor. Chili is not a fast dish.

This is very close to a half recipe of the one in the magazine, minus anything spicy. I put in as much chili powder as I thought I could handle. You may want to use more. For garnish, I used fat-free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Technically, we're still in healthy mode. The chili is vegan without the yogurt, vegetarian with, low fat, and high in fiber. For carnivores, half a pound of ground turkey would taste great in it.

1 Tb olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tb chili powder
1-1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 C dried black beans, rinsed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb butternut squash, peeled, 1/2" cubes (almost 2 cups)
1/2 C fine to medium bulgur
Garnishes of choice: sour cream, plain yogurt, cilantro, onion, shredded cheese, etc.

1. Heat oil in heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add half of the onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Sprinkle chili powder and coriander over, stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, and oregano. Add 4 C water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.

2. Stir in squash, remaining onion, and bulgur. Simmer over medium-low heat until squash is tender and bulgur has absorbed most of the excess water, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with garnishes of choice.

Serves 6

Difficulty rating :-0

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