Veggie Packed Chili
We had a beautiful October here in Rhode Island, until this week. It’s been cold and rainy for days; the only positive side to all the gloom, are the comfort meals for dinner. I had a craving for chili, which is the perfect vessel to hide all kinds of veggies in! This is definitely a labor of love, and is best when it gets to simmer on the stove for a while.
· 1 whole Butternut Squash – Peirce the skin with a sharp knife
· 6 Red , yellow , orange bell Peppers
· 2 Heads of Garlic – ends cut off
· 6 whole additional cloves of Garlic
· 1 pint Grape Tomatoes
· 1 small Vadalia Onion Chopped
· 6 small or 3 large Carrots – Grated
· 2 Apples – Grated
· TJ’s Taco Seasoning
· Smoked Paprika
· ½ small can of Tomato Paste
· 1 Tbls Apple Cider Vinegar
· 1 lb Ground Beef ((You could use turkey, or omit this entirely. I could go for a hearty veggie chili – but I added the beef for the hubs))
· 1 ½ Qts of Homemade Broth ((Or Store-Bought Stock)
· 1 jar of your favorite Salsa – I used Trader Joe’s; super mild
· 2 cans of your favorite beans-drained; I used red kidney and pinto because that’s what I grabbed first
((There is tomato sauce in this picture, I didn’t end up adding it- because the chili was thick enough))
· Turn oven up to 425
· Add Butternut Squash to lined pan
· Roast until fork tender, about an hour
· Drizzle lined sheet pan with olive oil; add 5 of the bell peppers with the garlic - facing cut side down (So the exposed garlic is on the pan)
· Roast 30 minutes, rotating the peppers so all sides are evenly scorched
· In a small baking dish add tomatoes and six whole cloves of garlic sprinkle with Cumin & Taco seasoning
· While your veggies roast, grab a big pot ((I wish I went bigger! I didn’t mean to make such a large batch – happens with soup every time!)) Drizzle with olive oil - add chopped vedalia onion, and carrots. Sauté until translucent
· Add apples, cook down
· Season with 1 Tbl Cumin, 1 Tbl Taco Seasoning, 1 tsp of each - cinnamon, ginger & paprika – cook until becoming fragrant
· Remove from pan and wipe out
· Add a swirl of olive oil back to the pan over med-high heat and add your ground beef
· Brown the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon ((Or potato masher))
· Add ½ TBL of Cumin & Taco Seasoning and ½ tsp of each cinnamon, ginger, paprika, black pepper – cooking down until the meat is cooked down and the spices are fragrant.
· Add Tomato paste – “waking it up” in the oils and spices from the meat
· Add Cider Vinegar, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan
· Add the sauteed veggies back to the pan along with the drained beans, can of salsa, and stock. Bring to a boil, and then simmer. The longer it sits, the better it tastes- but if you are in a rush – cook down at least 30 minutes
· While your soup is cooking your roasted veggies should become cool enough to handle.
· Either add to a bowl and blend with an immersion blender or add to blender
· Peel the skins off of your peppers – ((Do this more efficiently by adding hot peppers to a bowl and wrapping it with saran wrap – they will become easy to remove))
· Squeeze the roasted garlic out of their wrappers, grab the dish of tomatoes and blend – I pulse slowly and don’t need to add any liquid.
· Add the blended peppers, garlic & tomatoes to your pot of chili
· Cut your cooked butternut squash in half remove skin & seeds, add to a bowl and mash
· Add mashed butternut to your soup
· Now simmer, again the longer it sits, the better it will taste
· Cook at least 30 minutes until soup has combined. Taste to season – I like a mild chili, add more spice to heat things up!
I added a heaping scoop of cooked Quinoa to my chili to make it extra hearty!
Also made a delightful Oat-flour Corn Bread with Honey Butter to accompany this delicious meal! Which I am thinking of breaking up and roasting as corn bread croutons for a rollover meal....yum!
What’s your favorite cozy comfort food?!