I was feeling a bit adventurous the other day and made an unconventional chili. Instead of a tomato base, I used a buttercup squash. It lent itself well to the chili, giving it a smooth, silky texture and a slight sweetness that paired well with the spiciness.
|This is a buttercup squash|
This chili is a great alternative for people who find the tomatoes in regular chili to be too acidic. Tone down the spice a bit (or not) and this is a perfect introduction to chili for children. I gave it to my boys (deconstructed) and they loved it. My little one ate the beans and my older one loved the “meatballs” in their orange sauce.
*Don’t have a buttercup squash? Use a butternut squash or sweet potatoes instead. They will yield a slightly different, but still delicious taste.
*If you don’t have an immersion blender, then allow the squash mixture to cool for a few minutes, then carefully move it to a large food processor or blender and puree in the batches – just be very careful not to burn yourself.
*Instead of ground turkey, use a couple cups of leftover, shredded turkey or chicken.
Squash & Turkey Chili
4 cups vegetable broth
1 large buttercup squash
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1.25 lbs lean ground turkey
30 oz dark red kidney beans, undrained
1 tbsp chili powder
½ tsp ground chipotle peppers
Salt to taste
To begin, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and strings, discard. Cut into more manageable pieces and cut the green rind off the squash (discard). Finally, cut the flesh of the squash into rough chunks.
Place the squash into a large soup pot along with the vegetable broth over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the squash is very tender. Using an immersion blender, puree the squash until no chunks remain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until it is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and ground turkey and continue to cook until the turkey is fully cooked. Drain off any grease.
Pour the turkey mixture into the soup pot with the pureed squash. Stir in the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, and beans (along with the juice from the can). Add salt to taste. Simmer the chili for at least 30 minutes. Taste again, adjusting salt & spices as needed. Serve hot.