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Author Notes: This winter has been unusually cold and snowy. We’ve started to feel like it will never end. Our beloved vegetable garden is buried deep in a snowy tomb making it hard to picture that we will ever be able to plant anything but icicles there anytime soon. And by soon, I mean in the next six months.
I am a New Englander. I expect winter to be long, but I don’t have to like it. I do, however, have to try to invent ways to help keep us warm, fed, and not quite so frustrated with the longest indoor season. So, when my husband pointed out a new chili recipe in the February issue of Bon Appetit, I was all eyes. After I read the recipe, I felt a pang of guilt as I considered cheating on our beloved 1840 Farm Chili, but desperate seasons sometimes call for desperate measures.
Then my husband had to raise the stakes a little further and point out a recipe in the January/February issue of Men’s Health for a chili puree from Chef Tim Love. Off I went to the pantry. I was in luck. I actually had all of the ingredients to make my own version of this recipe. I also love a challenge, so figuring out a way to modify these recipes and use them together seemed like a good way to spend my morning. Especially if it meant that there would be chili for dinner.
Tim Love's original recipe for chili puree calls for dried chilies. Since I didn't have them on hand, I substituted chipotle chilies in adobo which I always have in my pantry. I also added a little instant espresso powder to the mix to give the coffee flavor a boost.
Smoky Chili Puree
- 8 ounces brewed coffee
- 3 chipotle chilies in adobo
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
Smoky Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 recipe smoky chili puree
- 56 ounces diced tomatoes in puree
- 1 pound dry black beans, rinsed
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 10 cups water
- 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
- cheddar cheese, shredded
- sour cream
- pickled jalapeno pepper slices
- In large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add chili paste and stir to combine. Add tomatoes, beans, oregano, and water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer with pot lid slightly ajar for 2 hours or until beans are tender.
- Add butternut squash and bulgur wheat. Return mixture to a simmer and cook without lid for 30-45 minutes until squash is tender. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and jalapeno and serve.
Anything But Watered Down
Pair tomato water with pasta
Tomato water: the sauce of summer.
Butter pecan ice cream for impatient cooks.
It's time to travel.
Tomato skins, meet salt.
Put cake on a pedestal.