This chili has the basic chili formula—tomato base and beans, and then some unusual ingredients—squash or yams, and spinach, to amp up the color, the nutritional value and the texture. A kiss of maple syrup cuts the acid and pulls the flavors together. The creaminess of the squash adds a new dimension to a familiar food, bringing a novel twist just when things are getting old. It still works with all the sides—guacamole, chips, sour cream or cheese—or it can be delicious with hearty whole grain bread, corn chips or served over brown rice.
Southern Style Squash Chili
By Jenny Breen
- 2 cups dried black-eyed peas cooked in 5 cups water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 yams or 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 8 cups water or stock
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dry thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 large tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 4 cups spinach or other seasonal greens, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Optional: 1 pound chicken breast
Cook beans and set aside.
Heat oil in stock pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and squash with garlic, herbs and salt, and add 4 cups water or stock. Cover and simmer until squash is soft– about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, cilantro, greens, tomato paste and maple syrup, and remaining water or stock and simmer another 15 to 20 minutes.