Bean Squash Kale Chili

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Sometimes you need a good, hearty chili, heavy on the beans. To mix it up from classic tomato-based chili, add squash and kale, and extra garlic (we all know by now that squash and kale go super well together. I put them on pizza, flatbread, in pasta, and evidently in chili). Great with a nice chunk of cornbread on the side (hopefully made with local cornmeal).

I admittedly made this a few months ago when I had a few more fresh vegetables. But still manageable now, if you’ve got kale left, or soon when the farms have it again (the trouble with growing vegetables this time of year is the light, or lack thereof).

Basis for the recipe from Goop (the link keeps changing for some reason so if it doesn’t work and you’re dying to look at it, google “black bean squash chili goop”).

Bean squash chili
1 cup dry beans (any kind you want—black is more traditional, but I used Jacob's cattle beans because I love them and it's what I had)
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
A few diced tomatoes, or 1 small can
Other veggies (like sweet peppers), if you have them
Olive oil
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 hot peppers (chipotle would be best, although not what I had), roughly chopped
1/2 of a small butternut squash
3-4 large leaves of kale, washed and chopped
salt + pepper

Soak the beans overnight, or the morning before cooking them. I also roasted the squash a little bit first—it gives it more flavor, and makes it easier to chop up; but this is pretty flexible. You can either roast it in halves first, until pretty soft, and then scoop out and chop up and add it at the end; peel and chop before roasting (good for flavor but kind of a huge pain) and add at the end (or don’t even roast, and just boil with the beans); or a mix—roast it part way, enough to make it easier to peel, and then either roast the rest of the way or throw in the chili earlier. I did the last, which seemed easiest.

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Chop or mince all the veggies. Heat up your pan with the spices (not salt) and toast them for 30-ish seconds until fragrant (this is the secret to getting the most out of your spices). Then add the oil and sauté for a few minutes, until the veggies are getting soft. Add the beans, and stock (or water), and cook for a while, until beans are starting to get soft. Depending on how much you are pre-cooking the squash, add them at some point (the squash takes about as long to cook as the beans). When both beans and squash are mixed together and basically cooked, add the salt, pepper, and chopped kale pieces. Cook the chili with the kale for a few minutes (it will soften up), taste and adjust seasonings, then serve.

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If you have cilantro, sour cream, or a little cheese, little garnishes are an excellent supplement to any chili. Enjoy!

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