Chipotle Butternut Squash Chile

One of my greatest loves during the fall and winter months is soup. Not broth. but chunky, hearty, filling soup. It’s easy, comforting and warms you up down to your toes. Soup leaves the kitchen smelling homey. It is easy to double or triple a batch for company. Easy to store, reheat and freeze…and you can cook it so many ways. If you search our posts, we have no shortages of soup here. While I can’t complain about the winter being warmer this year, it has left me less in the mood for soup.

Last week, though, I found myself craving a bowl. I ransacked my fridge to see what I had. Last year I made a delicious butternut squash black bean and quinoa chili, but have since lost the recipe. In my search, I stumbled upon this Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili with Avocado from Cookie & Kate. I already knew that butternut squash and black beans were an excellent combination, and I felt that you can’t really go wrong with chipotle and avocado, especially since I had recently learned to pick a perfectly ripe avocado. So I gave it a go…

Look at this deliciousness —- just screaming eat me

The results were far better than I hoped. We ate it back to back meals, and leftovers. My hubby was quite disappointed when it was all gone. The recipe calls for about an hour of cooking time and a half hour of prep, but I cut this way down, by throwing everything in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. To adapt it for the pressure cooker, I started by sauteing onions, bell peppers and squash in a pan with olive oil. (Costco sells pre-cut squash!). Once soft, add garlic, chili powder, chipotle, cumin and cinnamon and just enjoy the fragrance. Add the bay leaf, black beans, tomatoes, and broth, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. At this point I simmered my chili for about 10 minutes until it was reduced, in the future I will put less liquid… though truth be told, I think pureeing it in a blender for a hearty creamy soup would also be absolutely scrumptious

There are notes on the original recipe, that you may be able to cook this in the slow cooker also.

You can top the chili with corn tortilla strips/chips, avocado, cheese, sour cream, red pepper flakes, cilantro, hot sauce or whatever else you think would be good. I topped mine with cheese, sour cream and avocado. Find the recipe here; and let us know what you think!

#TBT – White Bean Chicken Chili

Another Throwback Thursday to one of our most popular posts.  This is an easy meal to serve a crowd and always gets rave reviews.  It is especially economical if you make your own chicken broth and cook dried beans from scratch (and it really enhances the flavor). Although it may be thought of more as a winter-time dish, it works well in the summer when made in a slow cooker. Click here to go to the post.

White Bean Chicken Chili

     We recently hosted a small Christmas card family get together for my husband’s family (mostly as a last ditch effort to force ourselves to actually send some out this year). Everybody came with their Christmas cards and address books, and the plan was to make it a group activity. Every year my husband and my intentions and plans for Christmas cards get more elaborate, and each year we fail miserably. This year we were going to take photos for the cards at a Christmas tree farm, the children frolicking like tiny adorable wood nymphs among the trees, me looking like a winter goddess, and my husband manly and strapping as he cut down our tree in his annual Christmas kilt. The reality? It’s the day before the Christmas card party. My 10 year old has lost his only slightly festive and dressy sweater: reindeer t-shirt substituted. We were unable to gather our brood and leave the house as planned that morning before baby’s naptime: instead we rolled down the driveway at 4:45 p.m., just as the sun was going down. My husband is a man determined at this point, and still considered making the trek even after his GPS announced we were 40 minutes from the tree farm. Needless to say, pictures were NOT happening. A 10 minute trip to Home Depot for a tree was in our future.

Last year’s Christmas photo. Will probably take us another 12 months to do this year’s.
     Thankfully, the party was much more successful than our efforts to document our family for the holidays. While the company was awesome, the cookies were divine (OMG everybody must try the Jo’s peppermint cookies from World Market), and the children were adorably well behaved and entertaining, the white bean chicken chili was the piece de resistance. I’ve always loved beans, and this recipe is one of my favorites. This time, however, was off the charts due to borrowing a page from my mother’s brilliance and the innovation forced by missing ingredients. On a side note, my mother successfully freezes cooked beans, and I suspect this meal would translate well into a freezer meal. It is also very cost effective, as I fed 10+ people for under about $15.
     At the last minute I realized I did not have a sufficient amount of frozen homemade chicken stock (gasp!) in the freezer. Thankfully, I had some frozen homemade chicken bouillon squares my mom had made as an experiment, which she made by reducing a gallon of her chicken broth down to approximately 1 cup, then freezing on parchment paper. At the time I had no idea how concentrated these squares were, so I started with the two cups of water and 3-4 squares of the bouillon (approximately 2 in. squares). The broth this made was deep brown like beef broth, and smelled amazing. I had no idea this recipe could taste this good until I took my first bite. 
     My husband, who is usually a man of few words at the dinner table, muttered to himself at least 3 times, “Wow, this is really good.” Even more impressive, my 10 year old took his first bite then looked at me and said, “Wow, I had no idea this was going to taste like this!” This soup received rave reviews from my husband’s family, and was the perfect recipe to make a triple batch and feed a crowd of 10+. The original recipe calls for it to be cooked in the slow cooker (Low, 3.5 hours), but I’ve done it both in the pressure cooker (High, for 20 minutes) and in the oven (250 for 2 hours) with great results.
Best served with crusty bread or cornbread. 

White Bean Chicken Chili

3/4 pound chicken thighs, cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (I’m lazy and mash jarred diced jalapeno with a fork)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 15-oz cans white beans (I prefer Great Northern, made from scratch to avoid BPA)
3 cups chicken broth (or water with a few squares of reduced broth bouillon, recipe HERE!)
Optional toppings: sharp cheddar, sour cream, cilantro
Directions:
1. Brown cubed chicken in oil
2. Add onions and garlic the last few minutes and cook until the onions are translucent.
3. Rinse and drain beans into oven-proof pot/pressure cooker/slow cooker, and add broth and spices.
4. Mash the beans lightly a few times with a potato masher, as this thickens the final soup into a creamy stew-like consistency.
5. Add chicken and onion mixture into oven-proof pot/pressure cooker/slow cooker and stir.
6. Slow cook on low 3-3.5 hours OR pressure cook on high 20 minutes OR bake at 250 for 1.5-2 hours or until chicken is tender.

Uncle Guy, a satisfied customer who came back for seconds.

FYI – Best. Cookies. Ever. (Buy them here at World Market). I wish I could un-learn of their existence.

Pulled Pork & Black Bean Chili


[This is another follow-up to my monstrous bowl of pulled pork. Read about my other meals: Pulled Pork Breakfast Skillets, and Pulled Pork Cheesesteak, or learn how to make pulled pork in your crockpot]



Of all the meals that I have made with pulled pork, this is easily the most time consuming. It was most definitely worth it though. I found a recipe for Black Bean Chile w. Chipotle Pulled Pork on Sippity Sup. The original recipe called for cooking the black beans and pork for hours on the stove, and required a bit more work than I was willing to put in, especially since I already had loads of delicious pulled pork on hand.

I cooked this in my instantpot, but on slow cooker mode, so that I could do everything in a single pot! I also cut the recipe in half, and adapted it a bit for us. This was also my first time using dried beans. Mary’s post on the subject inspired me!

One of the many ingredients in this chili is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This is one of my favorite ingredients. I love spicy food, and I love the smoky flavor of chipotle. However, recipes never call for a whole can. I use my food processor, and blend the remaining sauce and peppers up. I freeze them overnight in a small ice cube trays, then transfer to a bag. That way they are always on hand for a recipe, and I am not throwing away old cans. For my tray, 1 cube = 1 pepper.

Black Bean Chili w. Pulled Pork
Adapted from Sippity Sup
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbl Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic Minced (3 Tsps)
  • 3.5 Tbl Chili Powder
  • 3/4 Tbl Ground Cumin
  • 8 Cups Water*
  • 1 Lb Dried Black Beans 
  • 3 tsp Mexican Oregano (Yes there is a difference!)
  • Zest of 1/2 Orange
  • 3 Poblano Peppers, seeded, chopped
  • 2 Cups Pulled Pork
Toppings
  • Salsa Verde
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • Avocado Chunks (optional)
  • Queso Fresca
Directions:
  1. Prepare black beans: Rinse, and soak overnight, rinse again 
  2. Heat oil. Add onions and garlic, cooking until translucent.
  3. Add chili powder and cumin, stirring until fragrant, approx 1 min
  4. Add water, black beans, oregano, and orange zest, and poblano peppers
  5. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours
  6. (Monitor water level, if chili looks to thick, additional water can be added)
  7. Pork can be added during last 1/2 hour, or heated and placed on top. 
  8. Mix chipotle peppers with sour cream. Add more or less to taste. 
  9. To Serve: scoop chili in bowl, top with pork, queso fresca to taste, chipotle sour cream, and salsa verde. May also add sliced avocado, crushed corn chips, hot sauce, ect.