SMOKY SQUASH CHILI WITH QUINOA, PINTO AND BLACK BEANS

SMOKY SQUASH CHILI WITH QUINOA, PINTO & BLACK BEANS - The First Mess

We’ve had so many cloudy and drizzly days here. That’s nonstop soup and cozy carbs weather if you ask me. Our dogs happily lay by the fire or snuggle next to us pretty much all day now and the kettle is perpetually on. The leaves have fallen to that point where they look quite pretty, but there’s no urgent need to get them raked up just yet. Also basketball season starts this week! Like every other food or lifestyle blogger in a four season climate, I just love every little thing about Fall. I don’t even mind the dark early mornings! I find them cozy and ripe for quiet contemplation and a big cup of tea.

Chili is a thing that I crave on the first rainy and cold day of October, and then I basically don’t think about it again until the Superbowl. Once I satisfy the craving I’m good for a while (unless we’re talking Buffalo Chickpea Chili–I’ll eat that any time, any day). I do love making and eating it, but when I do, the chili has to have some unusual extras, quite a bit of spice, lots of toppings, and possibly/definitely a corn muffin on the side. Guess I’m just particular?

It is my professional opinion that this chili recipe really brings it. It’s got some mellow squash cubes (I used honey nut), fire-roasted tomatoes, a little bit of quinoa for body, TWO types of beans (hecka protein!), cocoa for depth, poblano peppers, lots of cilantro on top, and it features my new favourite ingredient: straight up smoky adobo sauce from chipotle chilies. I noticed jars of this sauce on grocery shelves on one of my recent trips to the US and had to snag one.

I’m always buying cans of chipotles, but usually wind up favouring the thick sauce that surrounds the actual chilies. It’s amazing in dressings, sauces, braises, stews, pasta sauce, honestly anything that needs heat or a little something extra in terms of depth. At its heart, adobo is simply a marinade used for raw foods and has been widely adopted throughout Latin cuisine. Typical ingredients include paprika, vinegar, garlic, and oregano. Having a jar of this smoky goodness will definitely help transform some of your weekday staples. It mingles beautifully with the sweet and creamy squash in this chili.

I topped ours with some basic cashew sour cream (similar recipe here), and made a mini batch of the corn muffins from Love & Lemons for this cozy dinner, and it was all just so cozy and great. Hope you all give this chili a try as part of your Fall festivities. Stay warm out there!

SMOKY SQUASH CHILI WITH QUINOA, PINTO & BLACK BEANS - The First MessSMOKY SQUASH CHILI WITH QUINOA, PINTO & BLACK BEANS - The First MessSMOKY SQUASH CHILI WITH QUINOA, PINTO & BLACK BEANS - The First Mess
SMOKY SQUASH CHILI WITH QUINOA, PINTO AND BLACK BEANS
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 6
NOTES: Sweet potatoes would be great in place of the squash and would take about the same amount of time to cook.
-If you can’t find poblano peppers, go for a bell pepper in whatever colour you like.
-If you’re opening a can of chipotles to get the adobo sauce and you enjoy some extra spice, chop one of the actual chipotles up and add them to the chili along with the adobo sauce.
-I served the chili with Love & Lemons’ corn muffins (RECIPE HERE) and some cashew sour cream (RECIPE HERE)

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups small-diced butternut/honey nut squash (about one 1-lb squash)
¼ cup quinoa
3 tablespoons adobo sauce
1 cup vegetable stock
1 28-oz can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1 ½ cups cooked pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large poblano pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
chopped cilantro, for garnish

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and sauté until translucent and softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, coriander, and cocoa to the pot and stir. Once the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the squash, quinoa, and some salt and pepper. Stir to coat everything in the cocoa and spices.

Once everything is starting to dry up/stick, add the adobo sauce and vegetable stock to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to get any golden brown bits. Add the crushed tomatoes, pinto beans, black beans, poblano pepper, and a bit more salt and pepper to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring the smoky squash chili to a boil.

Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and place a lid on top of the pot. Let the chili simmer until the squash is soft all the way through, about 25-28 minutes. Check the smoky squash chili for seasoning one more time and adjust if necessary. Serve the chili hot with chopped cilantro on top.

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