I guess I always overlooked beef chili a bit. This is probably because I didn’t care much for ground beef for a long time. Lately I have been enjoying this chili recipe because it is so simple and tasty. It gets points for the amount of ingredients (you can count them on one hand.) That is definitely not the norm for chilies which can require up to 20 ingredients! This chili should be cooked on a heavy bottomed saute pan where it slow cooks for about an hour. I like the taste of grass-fed ground beef so I use it for this recipe. The amount of hot sauce to add into the chili is really up to personal tastes. I like it on the spicy side so I add approximately 1/4 cup. I topped the chili with sharp cheddar and it can be served on top of rice or with corn bread.
I had never tried making a chili with squash so I was excited to see how this recipe would turn out. But first, let me back up and say that this chili has an interesting back story. Last year, my mom threw some squash seeds in a compost bin. The seeds did not break down as they should have but rather grew to be enormous squash plants over the summer (the vines were 20 ft. long and growing all over the lawn). Letting the vines run wild paid off because they produced gorgeous sweet dumpling squash and I was sent 6 of them in the mail (I’m sure there’s more where that came from). I was so excited to get started since I had never tried sweet dumpling before.
I read up on the squash and it turns out that most recipes just season and roast the squash whole because of their smaller size. They are milder than other squash and taste a bit like sweet corn. I thought preparing it in a chili with beans and corn would work nicely. I started with traditional chili spices like Chipotle in adobo and cumin as well as spices that would compliment the squash like allspice and cinnamon. The chili was so tasty and I was really happy with how it turned out.
October and November, in my opinion, are the best months for soups and chilis. I can’t really get enough of a warm bowl of something tasty during these months. Since I had quite a few leftover ingredients from other meals (e.g. lentils, beans, tomato sauce, cilantro, etc) I figured I should try creating a chili out of what I had sitting around. I kept looking around for more things to throw in and noticed I had some frozen green peppers and jalapenos, so I cut them up and threw them in too. I was very happy with how the chili turned out! This chili does not need an ounce of meat as it is packed with protein from the lentils, kidney beans, and pinto beans. The ground chipotle chilis were great and gave it a more smoky, aromatic flavor. I garnished the chili with sour cream and cilantro, but yogurt would be a good substitute for the sour cream.
Since I had several pounds of shredded pork, I decided to make a stew out of the leftovers. This stew is an interpretation of a chile verde pork stew but with an addition of red chili flavors. Chile verde with pork is usually green and looks a lot like salsa verde. This stew has the flavors of a green chili with the addition of red chili flavors like paprika, chili powder, and ancho chilis. It turned out really well and I enjoyed all the layers of flavor this stew had. The recipe isn’t too difficult to throw together and it is a great way to use leftover pork roast. I recommend saving the bone from the pork shoulder and throwing it in this stew for added flavor.
This chili is one of those dishes that regularly makes it onto the menu. I used to make it in a big sauce pan, but since I got a crock pot I have slow cooked it ever since. I like the way all of the seasoning marinates slowly for hours and the way the veggies and cashews become tender. The cashews add a sweet, nutty flavor that tastes great with the beans and veggies. I garnished the chili with extra sharp cheddar and green onion.
Since I enjoyed the pork mole negro I made a while ago I thought I would try it in a chili. Originally I started with a basic recipe for meat chili and it eventually evolved into both a mole and a chili recipe. I’ve always thought the flavors in mole would go well in a chili and it turns out I was right because this was very tasty! The flavors of the chili were multi-layered and complex (probably because of the 20+ ingredients in it). This recipe is ideal for a large slow cooker but a sauce pot on low heat would work fine too.