|Black Bean & Butternut Squash Chili - vegan - recipe in post|
It was cold and windy here in Michigan this past week. Gusts of air blown in from the South-West, mere fragments of the storm raging there.
I think it's safe to say that Hurricane Sandy, and all the people effected by it, have been at the forefront of everyone's minds these past few days. No one was really prepared for just how fierce this storm would be. My cousin, an EMT in New Jersey, tells me there haven't been any deaths... but that without power, there are few stores or gas stations operational. It's amazing how much of a necessity electricity is, and without it my mind immediately jumps to scenes of post-apocalyptic zombie-land type movies. A bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit.
One of my favorite bloggers, Angela, has created a donation page for one of Red Cross' relief funds - you can see her post, here. For other ways to lend a hand, check out this article, "12 ways to help".
As is my usual reaction to most problems, one of my first inclinations was to make food. Sadly, this isn't something a big hearty meal can remedy... but for those seeking a little comfort, this chili might just be the ticket.
In my experience, chili is a very personal thing. Depending on where you grew up, and how you were raised, chili can mean a lot of different things to different people. In my house, my mom would make a giant pot of ground beef, beans, onions, tomatoes, and plenty of spices... then serve it up with all the toppings your heart desired. We could live on one batch of chili for weeks.
This Butternut Squash Chili is nothing like what I was raised on - it's vegan, for one, and the flavor is a warm mingling of cumin, coriander and chipotle peppers - but I find it just as hearty and comforting. The recipe easily fills my large dutch oven, and the leftovers only get better and better. The Fiance and I ate this for days on end, and still I'm not tired of it.
Black Bean Butternut Squash Chili
Vegan, easily made Gluten-Free*
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
2 medium sweet onions, chopped
8-9 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP ground coriander
1/2 TBSP ground cumin
big pinch of salt
2 14.5oz. cans fire-roasted tomatoes
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed well
1-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced (I like it with just one, but you can use another, or add more of the adobo sauce from the can, to adjust the heat to taste)
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4-5 cups)
3 large carrots, chopped
1/2 cup quick cooking bulgur*
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional, for serving:
Vegan sour cream (or coconut cream)
*To make this chili gluten-free, I suspect the bulgur could be substituted with quinoa or other grain.
Heat the oil in a very large pot (no less than 7 quarts) over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, and a big pinch of salt. Stir for about a minute, or until fragrant.
Stir in the tomatoes (with juice), black beans, chipotles, and oregano. Add 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Simmer until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours (time will vary depending on the freshness of your beans).
Stir in the squash, carrots, and bulgur. Simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, until the squash and bulgur are tender - about 30 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve with the toppings of your choice - Enjoy!