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Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili

As far as vegetarian chilis go, this is by far the most full bodied and flavorful one I have made so far. You really don’t miss the meat at all in this version. I love a classic chili but occasionally, I omit the meat for a number of reasons and this is a great alternative. The secret is using 2 cups of chopped butternut squash and taking a potato masher to blend the majority of the squash into the soup after its softened. The smoked paprika I used adds just enough heat and smokiness to give this another layer of flavor. This chili is warming and flavorful and so easy to make.

What you need:

Olive Oil

2 tbsp butter

1 poblano pepper (chopped)

1 green bell pepper (chopped)

1 small yellow onion (chopped)

salt and pepper

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp smoked paprika

28 oz can of diced tomatoes

14 oz can black beans (do not drain the can)

*do not use sodium free tomatoes or beans unless you like really bland chili, I rely on the salt in these items for flavor.…if you used sodium free canned tomatoes/beans you will want to salt this soup to taste

Begin by putting a small drizzle of olive oil and 2 tbsp butter in a pot and heating to medium/low heat. Add your chopped peppers and onion and stir with a bit of salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes add all of your spices. Stir occasionally for 5-10 minutes to soften the vegetables and cook the spices. The spices will release much more of their flavor if you cook them slowly in a (mostly) dry pot, this is crucial. When the spices and oregano are fully aromatic and the vegetables have softened add your tomatoes, beans, and butternut squash. Instead of using chicken broth, I get all of the liquid in the soup from the beans and the tomatoes. It should be enough liquid to just cover the butternut squash. The starch from the liquid in the bean can is useful in thickening up this chili. Simmer on low for about 30-40 minutes. When you can easily pierce the butternut squash with a fork the chili is done. Take a potato masher and place it into the soup pot, mashing up the cubes of squash. Leave it a bit chunky and cook for about 5-10 more minutes so the starch from the squash thickens it even more. This chili can be enjoyed right away, adding cheese is a great addition. Like most soups and stews, its even better the next day!

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