After a weekend of eating rich foods and eating more food than usual, I thought I'd do something extra healthy last night. This recipe caught my eye when I read that the blog author's teenaged daughter said it was "marvelous." I don't know any teens who use that word, much less use it when referring to a vegetarian chili. Besides the word "marvelous," it also looked like it was very easy to make.
I knew the big test here would be if Daddy-O would eat it. He'a a meat eater. A real meat and potato kind of guy. We live on a farm that raises beef cattle. Black Angus to be exact. He looked at it as it was cooking and asked, "Why can't we have just plain meat and vegetables sometime?"
After we ate dinner, Daddy-O casually commented, "I like that better than the chili you usually make."
I asked, "Better than the one I've made for years?"
"Better than the one that won first prize last year?"
"You like it better than the one with meat in it???"
"This one didn't have meat in it?"
I was afraid to ask him one more question. I kept waiting for him to say "just kidding" but so far he hasn't. It was very good and it was about the easiest thing to make ever. So give it a try.
I'm going to give you the recipe just as I found it and then tell you how I did it. Didn't change the ingredients--just the cooking method.
SLOW COOKER BLACK BEAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHILI
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes (one can had green peppers & onion)
2 15.5-oz. cans black beans (do not drain)
1 10-oz. package frozen butternut squash
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. (There is no need to thaw squash first.)
Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours. Serve.
Optional toppings: crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream
I did not find frozen squash, but I did get a bag of peeled and cubed fresh butternut squash. And I did not have hours to use a slow cooker. So I cooked it on the stovetop for about an hour or so. Instead of the frozen squash, I added about 4 cups of cubed squash. That was 16 ounces instead of the 10 ounces called for in the recipe. I only did that because I didn't read the recipe carefully. (More squash is healthier, right? But next time I'll use about 2+ cups of squash.) I also used a can of diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion because that's what I had on hand.
The cocoa and cinnamon combined with the traditional chili spices give this such a rich flavor. Don't be afraid of this recipe!