Friday, October 29, 2010


Weeknight Kitchen, with Lynne Rossetto Kasper
October 27, 2010
(click here for original printable column)

"Oh, what a pot of chili can do for us on a cold night. Granted, this one takes a little longer than most of our work night dishes, but it delivers big time. Just one caution: the chipotle chile is deliciously smoky and rich, but quite hot. With that and the 3 tablespoons of chili powder called for in the recipe you get a stew for hot pepper lovers. My advice is to use the chipotle, but if hot spice isn't appealing, use a very mild chili powder for the 3 tablespoons. See the note after the recipe for specifics.

One other thought: This recipe illustrates, too, that mixing hot spice with sweet ingredients (the squash and cider), softens the heat's impact – a trick to remember when someone gets carried away with seasonings.


Reprinted with permission from Party Vegan: Fabulous, Fun Food for Every Occasion by Robin Robertson (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2010). Copyright © 2010 by Robin Robertson.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Halloween colors play out deliciously in this flavorful chili made with black beans and diced butternut squash.

1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups cooked or 3 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced
1 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the squash into 1/4-inch dice and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, carrot, and bell pepper, if using. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, and chipotle. Stir in the apple juice, chili powder, allspice, sugar, and salt and black pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and simmer about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately. If not using right away, bring to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks, then thaw before reheating.

The recipe has a hefty amount of chile. The chipotle is hot. So if you are sensitive to spicy foods, add the chili powder a teaspoon at a time (the 3 tablespoons measurement equals 6 teaspoons) to get the amount of heat you prefer. For mildest of mild chile, use sweet Spanish, Hungarian or California paprika; for slightly hotter, try ground Ancho; for fruity heat, splurge on Aleppo chile; and for searing fire, go for cayenne.

This technique of cooking vegetables with little oil until they're steaming in their own juices before you mix in the other ingredients deepens flavors in ways that just tossing everything into the pot and simmering it can never achieve. Try this with other recipes.

In our test we used unfiltered apple cider. Most supermarkets have it in the produce section this time of year."

Have a great week,

Copyright 2010, Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
All Rights Reserved

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