recipe: autumn chili

20131013-211832.jpgI love soups. And I love fall. Which means I really love fall foods!  I had suggested to have a “Chili Night” for small group meal tonight, which was a fabulous idea… but the best part of the night was this quote: “Can this just stay here? This stuff is amazing.”  Little boys know how to melt my heart!  When I knew I was making a chili for tonight, I wanted to try a new recipe that truly embodied a classic chili but with a fall-inspired twist… sometimes I’m nervous about new recipes, but this one was a big hit!  And for the record, I highly recommend pairing this with some chilled apple cider and cornbread on the side!

AUTUMN CHILI

Ingredients

· 1 tablespoon chili powder
· 1 tablespoon cumin
· 2 teaspoons dried oregano
· 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 3 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 pound beef chuck or stewing meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
· 1 cup finely chopped white onion
· 1 cup seeded and chopped red bell pepper
· 1 or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
· 3 tablespoons tomato paste
· 2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
· 3 cloves garlic, grated on rasp or finely minced
· 1 pound ground chuck (80% lean)
· 1 1/2 cups beef stock
· 1 1/2 cups red wine
· 2 tablespoons fine cornmeal
· 1 small can of white kidney beans
· One 1 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, oregano, pumpkin pie spice, 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, beef cubes and half of the seasoning. Cook until the beef is browned on all sides but not cooked through, about 7 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic and caramelize.  Then add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and hot sauce and stir and cook until everything turns a dark reddish brown, about 10 minutes. In a separate pan, cook the ground chuck with the remaining seasoning until the beef is browned, then drain the meat and add to the large pot.  Add the reserved beef chunks back to the pot along with the stock, wine, cornmeal, beans and squash. Raise the heat until it comes to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and let the chili cook until it is thick and the liquid is reduced, another 15 minutes.

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