Texans, don’t kill me: this butternut squash chili is rad.
Yes, I’m a Texan, and I hold Coach Taylor’s lessons dear in my heart, and Texas Red occupies a very special place in my heart. But chili is a wide world of possibilities, and as righteous as red meat in pepper paste truly is, a big pot of butternut squash and chorizo can be pretty damn skippy sometimes.
Especially when you need some fiber. Texas Red is rad, but that next day can hurt.
No photography for that one.
This recipe evolved from a sweet potato chili that Juliana’s been cooking up for a while. I started tinkering with it, and she… well, she got a little upset that I was trying to fix something that was already perfect.So I ditched the sweet potato and replaced it with butternut squash! See, baby? TOTALLY different thing now. Apples and oranges. You can have your awesome perfect thing, and I can have my weird amorphous evolving sustainable locavore chili. Everyone’s happy!
I hope…I trimmed down the ingredient list quite a bit for this butternut squash chili. Simplification makes the rockin’ world go round. 1 There’s not much more to it than the butternut squash, some onion and garlic, a bit of Mexican chorizo, a can of tomatoes, and a handful of seasonings like cumin, chocolate, and vinegar. This ain’t no mole. But it is still righteously tasty. And full of veggies, too! FOR THE NERDS
Here’s where I talk about how butternut squash chili can be a part of or inform a transition into a sustainable locavore cuisine, based around the Kansas City midwest / Missouri River area. This is also the part where I discuss the elements of whole, unrefined food that went into the recipe, and how they can inform our greater food consciousness, and all that Birkenstock s***.
Sweet potatoes have bugged me for a while, just because they’re such a subtropical thing that I didn’t figure they had much potential as a sustainable crop here in the Midwest. Sure, maybe global warming will push the line further north, but I wanted to find a replacement that wasn’t so dang SOUTHERN.
Enter butternut. Flavor is very similar, it totally grows here in KC, PLUS it’s a winter squash, meaning it has a rind that keeps it fresh for months without any kind of refrigeration or processing!
I dig finding a few different uses for the same food element; not long ago I made a creamy (but spicy) butternut squash soup. Exploring the versatility of crops can go a long way towards establishing them as parts of a cuisine canon. Like Alton Brown, we don’t want no unitaskers. Every foodstuff must have a variety of uses, or else it’s useless.
Also, I cut down on the meat content in the butternut squash chili pretty significantly from the recipe I based it on. It originally had maybe a pound and a half of ground pork and sausage; I decreased that to a half pound, but changed it to chorizo so that it would get an extra hit of flavor.
BEAT IT, NERDS! LET’S GET SOME BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHILI!
It’s spicy. It’s sweet. It’ll warm you up and down, and make you wish you had it when you were a kid so you could have nostalgic memories about it. But nostalgia’s for old countries and Norman Rockwell, and this is American and you’re young. Screw nostalgia. New can be awesome.
Butternut squash chili. Nostalgia-free. Free-range awesome.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1/2 lb Mexican chorizo
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle in adobo
- 3 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 oz Mexican chocolate
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butternut squash until tender, about 5 minutes.
- In a large dutch oven over medium heat, brown the chorizo. Add the onions and garlic, sauce till translucent. Add the cumin, oregano, chipotle, tomato, and, when it’s tender, the squash. Bring to a simmer, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve with sour cream or plain yogurt.
- Simplification and fat bottomed girls. ↩