Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

Well, we're really in the thick of winter here in Vancouver. And by winter I mean almost a solid month of grey skies - and rain, did I mention rain? I'm not gonna lie, it can wear on me. But this year I made a decision to embrace it and focus on the good stuff to get me through the dark dreary days (you'd think I'd have it down by now because I've lived here all my life - it's a work in progress).
Here's what I'm doing right now; first, I play beach volleyball at an indoor space where we can dive in the sand and pretend it's summer ;). Second, I'm taking advice from my 3 year old nephew whose favourite thing to do is jump in puddles. He even decided to fall (on purpose - imagine a little tree falling sideways) into a puddle the size of a small pond when we were last hanging out. Which really is as fun as it looks on a rainy day, if you dress for it. And so is a run I've learned! Last, but not least I'm taking advantage of more long, lazy days in the kitchen.
This Chili is on repeat throughout the winter months because it's easy to through in a pot or in the crockpot and it keeps well in the freezer so you can make a big batch so you have extras to pull out on those days you just can't think about cooking. The butternut squash ups your veggie count for the day and if you cut them small you might even hide them from the kids :)
Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili
  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef, organic grass-fed
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 - 15 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Sauté beef in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until no longer pink, breaking up with spoon, about 8 minutes. Add onions, bell peppers, garlic and squash. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Add crushed tomatoes and bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring often. Add beans and simmer another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
DO AHEAD: Can be made ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated up to 2 days (or freeze up to 1 month). Rewarm over medium-low heat. You can also do this in the crockpot. I would still brown the meat first and then put all the ingredients except the beans in the crockpot and cook on low for 6hrs. Add the beans for the last 15 min of cooking. 
Ladle chili into bowls. Serve with sour cream, green onions, cheese, cilantro or avocado.



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