There have been too many days like that recently, which is why I'm only just getting around to telling you about this Chili that I made on Halloween.
It's a black bean chili that I've been making since college, great for the crisp autumn weather or a one of those freezing cold February days in New England. I prefer black beans to kidney beans for the taste. This particular chili has a tangy flavor, it melds together sweet and just a tad spicy.
The day before Halloween, J and I had one of those incredible meandering days. Our plan was to go and visit some good friends who just had a new baby. I happened to know of a great place to eat breakfast, a picturesque farm near where they lived so we started the day off there. Mmmm...sweet potato pancakes and veggie sausage with, of course, maple syrup from the farm. We still hadn't heard from the new parents so went off to explore a town nearby that at first seemed a little underwhelming. Clearly an old mill town, it was beautiful but seemed to lack any points of interest. That is until we came across the old York Theatre, which has been converted into a bowling alley. It still has much of the original architecture and is apparently haunted.
I promise there's a point to this story. A few games later, we heard from our friends and went for some cuddle time with Julia. Afterwards, we decided to head up to Brattleboro, VT for the remainder of the afternoon, since we were so close. We ate dinner at Firework's Restaurant and I enjoyed an arugula salad with roasted butternut squash, lentils, and goat cheese.
The roasted butternut squash was perfect and got me thinking about using it with my Black Bean Chili. Apparently this is not too novel of an idea, but it was for me. Delicious too.
Of course, you have to add the cheese and sour cream!
Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 lb frozen bell peppers, stir fry mix or about 2-3 red, yellow and green peppers, chopped
1 cup cubed fresh butternut squash
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 15-oz cans black, beans, drained
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes and green chiles
2 Tbsp tomato paste
Cayenne pepper optional
Using a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat for approximately one minute. Add onion, bell peppers, butternut squash, garlic, cumin and oregano and mix together well. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions are translucent, peppers are limp and squash is just beginning to soften.
Add 1 1/2cans of black beans, both cans of tomatoes, tomato paste and and 2-3 dashes of cayenne pepper. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then adjust temperature so that mixture is bubbling slightly.
Simmer for about 10 minutes. With the leftover black beans, mash them up well, and after 10 minutes, mix in and cover. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until squash has softened. Add salt, pepper, and more cayenne pepper to taste.
Serve over rice or alone, with a dab of sour cream and some shredded cheese.
Optional side dish - a warm fire and cozy slippers.