This right here is a big bowl of hearty, spicy autumnal goodness. I’ve never had a chili like this before. I’m a big fan of the beef and beans kind of chili, topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream, and I love a good plate of Cincinnati chili with its chocolatey notes, served on top of spaghetti.

This one is different. This one is autumn in chili form. This is chili with butternut squash and apples and it’s thick and chunky and beany and unexpected and extremely satisfying. I’ll definitely be adding this recipe to my repertoire – it’s a keeper.

Note – use a big pot for this. Admittedly, I used a huge butternut squash (I’m crazy for butternut squash) and my 7 quart Martha Stewart Dutch oven was barely big enough for it, but I think my 5 quart Dutch oven wouldn’t have worked well here.

Autumn Harvest Chili

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, October 2011

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 1/2 lb cooked chicken-apple sausage links, cut in 1 inch pieces

2 large red onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch chunks (about 6 cups)

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4 inch chunks

2 cans pinto beans (or kidney beans), drained and rinsed, 1 can slightly smashed

1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

Gala or other apples, cut in rings

  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high. Add sausage; cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  2. In the same pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook onions for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more, until onion is nearly tender. Add squash and cook 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Cook 1 minute. Return chicken to pot and add broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high. Cook apples 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Transfer apples along with beans to chili. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes, until apples are tender. Top with sage and apple slices. Makes 8 servings.
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