“Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.” – Harry James
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (1/2 of a large one should be enough for this recipe, if that’s all you can find)
5 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 teaspoons cumin
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup beer
1/2 cup brewed coffee
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
2 – 4 cups beef stock.
Toppings of your choice (tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, avocado, cilantro, scallions, etc.)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Toss the squash with a couple tablespoons of oil and spread out evenly on a baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Roast for 25 minutes, or until softened and slightly golden brown, turning halfway through. Set aside.
Meanwhile, add two tablespoons of oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef. Once it’s nice and brown, drain the fat off and transfer the ground beef to a separate container/plate while you cook the aromatics and toast the spices.
Reduce the heat under the pot to medium. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot followed by the diced onion, garlic, and the next 7 ingredients. (Note: you don’t have to stick to the amounts I have listed for the spices. If you like, feel free to add more or less of each one to suit your preferences). Cook, stirring frequently, for 6 – 8 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the tomato paste and pumpkin and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes.
Add the beer to the pot to deglaze, stirring to loosen any bits on the bottom. Add the coffee and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the beef back into the pan, followed by the tomatoes, beans (if you like beans in your chili), and roasted squash.
Stir the contents of the pot to combine everything and add the stock, starting with two cups and adding more if the chili appears too thick (this step can be done to your preference. If you like very thick chili, you can skip the stock altogether).
Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the chili for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop. The longer it sits the better!
Ladle into bowls and top as desired.