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Fall harvest chili with butternut squash, black beans, and chorizo

As the leaves begin to change and the temperatures drop, there’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of chili to ward off the autumn chill. This fall harvest chili combines the best of the season’s bounty with the bold flavors of chorizo and spices, creating a hearty and satisfying dish that celebrates the flavors of fall.

Region and History

Chili has a long and storied history in the United States, with roots dating back to the early settlers and cowboys of the American West. While traditional chili recipes often feature beef and tomatoes, modern variations like this fall harvest chili incorporate a diverse array of ingredients, reflecting the culinary creativity and regional flavors of contemporary American cuisine.

Ingredients

For the Chili:

  • Butternut squash, diced
  • Chorizo sausage, casing removed and crumbled
  • Black beans, cooked
  • Onion, diced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Red bell pepper, diced
  • Diced tomatoes, canned
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For Serving (optional):

  • Sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Lime wedges

Cooking Instructions

Step 1: Sauté the Aromatics

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the diced onion, minced garlic, and diced red bell pepper. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Brown the Chorizo

  • Add the crumbled chorizo sausage to the pot with the sautéed aromatics. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

Step 3: Add the Butternut Squash and Spices

  • Stir in the diced butternut squash, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the spices to toast and the flavors to meld.

Step 4: Simmer the Chili

  • Add the diced tomatoes (with their juices), cooked black beans, and chicken or vegetable broth to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Bring the chili to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender and the flavors have developed.

Step 5: Serve and Garnish

  • Ladle the fall harvest chili into bowls. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, and a squeeze of lime juice, if desired.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

FAQ

Can I use canned butternut squash instead of fresh?

While fresh butternut squash is recommended for its flavor and texture, canned butternut squash can be used as a convenient alternative.

Is there a vegetarian version of this chili?

Yes, you can omit the chorizo sausage and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make a vegetarian version of this chili. You can also add extra vegetables or tofu for added protein.

Can I make this chili in advance?

Yes, this chili can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving. It also freezes well, so you can make a big batch and freeze individual portions for later.

What other toppings can I use?

Feel free to customize your chili with your favorite toppings! Other delicious options include shredded cheese, diced onions, jalapeño slices, or tortilla strips.

Conclusion

This fall harvest chili is a celebration of the season’s bounty, combining the earthy sweetness of butternut squash with the bold flavors of chorizo and spices. Whether enjoyed on a crisp autumn evening or served at a festive gathering, this hearty chili is sure to warm both body and soul. So gather your ingredients, simmer up a pot of chili, and savor the flavors of fall with every comforting spoonful.

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