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Bite Of MN: Three Bean Chili With Delicata Squash And Kale

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Chili

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

How did you spend your time during this weekend’s blizzard? I was happy to have nowhere to go and spent a lot of time in my kitchen cooking up treats, snacks, and all around good food. It also gave me a chance to assess the contents of my cupboards and make use of some canned goods.

I have always wanted a good chili recipe, one that is flavorful, rich, and hearty, but not at all greasy. While reading some local blogs, I came across one that raved about a recent chili and cornbread they made. I had all the ingredients for the cornbread and thanks to my well-stocked cupboards, I could make the chili with a few substitutions.

Chili

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

This was supposed to be a black bean and butternut squash chili with swiss chard, but instead I turned it into a three bean and delicata squash chili with kale. While I love butternut squash, delicata was what I had on hand and is much easier to work with: softer to cut and no need to peel!

What really made this chili shine was the texture. Before adding the kale, I took a cup or two of chili and pureed it using an immersion blender before adding it back to the pot. The chili was still plenty chunky, but now had a nice balance of textures that fit well on a spoon.

Cornbread

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

The cornbread was also amazing and the recipe didn’t need any tweaking. This is the kind of cornbread I love, so full of butter flavor and sweetness that nothing else is needed. I have always paired my chili with saltines, but found the cornbread to be just as satisfying.

Click on the links above for the cornbread and original chili recipes. I have included my version of the chili below.

Three Bean Chili With Delicata Squash and Kale
(adapted from Bon Appetit, 2006)
4-6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch pieces delicata squash, unpeeled
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp light brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained
1 15-ounch can kidney beans, rinsed, drained
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
3 cups coarsely chopped kale

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender and golden, about 9 minutes, add garlic and sauté 1 minute more or until fragrant. Add squash; stir 2 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, and cinnamon and coat onions and garlic. Stir in beans, broth, and tomatoes with juices; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove 1 cup of the chili and puree in a blender. Return to pot and stir in kale; simmer until kale is tender but still bright green, about 5-7 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.

Garnish with minced red onion, cilantro, sour cream, and cheddar cheese, if desired.

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