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Author Notes: Just in time for camping and football season! In addition to the usual beans, tomatoes and beef this chili has squash, sweet potatoes and a ton of aromatic spices like cinnamon and cloves for a real festive flavor. Happy fall! —Addie
- 3 baby butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons corn meal
- 1.5 pounds ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 cumin
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon coco
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 cups cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 3 small sweet potatoes, cubed
- 2 32-ounce canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 15-ounce canned kidney beans
- 2 15-ounce canned navy beans
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Coat cubed butternut squash in 2 tablespoons of the oil then toss with corn meal and spread out evenly on a baking sheet. This step is not mandatory but will help the squash hold its shape in the chili rather than turning to mush and getting lost in the dish. Bake squash until tender but still holding its shape, about 25-30 minutes.
- While squash is roasting, get the chili going. Generously season the ground beef with the spices and cook in a large soup pot on medium high heat until caramelized and brown. Your kitchen will smell divine. Once cooked through remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep grease in pot to serve as your cooking fat.
- Add a little olive oil to the pot if needed, then add the onion, garlic, bell peppers and sweet potatoes. Cook until sweet potatoes begin to brown, stirring occasionally, about 20-30 minutes.
- Next, add the diced tomatoes. the beans and the tomato sauce.
- Fill up one to two empty cans of water and add to the chili, more or less depending on your preference.
- Add the meat back to the pot and once finished roasting, stir in the butternut.
- Let simmer on low for 25-30 minutes (or more if you have patience), taste and adjust the seasoning. I always end up adding more spices at the end so never know exactly how much seasoning I use. For this, I was very generous with the cinnamon, chili powder and coco. Everyone was pleased.
- Serve with corn chips or crumbled corn bread and lots of cheese.