January 20, 2010

Sweet Dumpling & Delicata Squash Chili

1 sweet dumpling squash, peeled and cubed
1 delicata squash, peeled and cubed
30 oz canned dark red kidney beans, drained
30 oz canned fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 oz rye (optional)
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 cubanelle pepper, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 jarred fire roasted pepper, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 teaspoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon ground jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon roasted ground cumin

Place all ingredients in 4 or 6 quart slow cooker and gently stir to evenly distribute the spices and squash. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir prior to serving.

Yield: 8 servings

Note: I like to put the spices in the (covered) slow cooker overnight, chop up the onion, shallot, garlic, peppers, squash and celery and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. For a vegetarian/vegan chili like this one I have been known to refrigerate the wetter ingredients like jarred pepper, tomatoes, beans, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke in a separate container overnight as well. In the morning, I just have to stir everything together in the slow cooker and turn it on.

My thoughts:
It may be the dead of winter here in Baltimore and nothing is growing locally but it is still easy to find local squash in area stores. We actually have some that we had bought back around Halloween that is still perfectly fine, winter squash can be stored very successfully for months if kept in a cool, dry spot. Delicata and Sweet Dumpling squash both have a fine texture and relatively thin skin which makes them a perfect choice for chili; they are easy to peel and cube. They are also sweeter and milder than a lot of other winter squashes which make them a perfect foil for the spices.