Tag Archives: chili

Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

It’s not really time for stew. It’s late August, so for a Texan like me, that still means at least 3-4 weeks of hot temperatures to go. The stars were aligned for us last night, however, and a cold front blew in. The high temp yesterday? 80 degrees. It was 107 on Monday. That makes 80 degrees practically feel like sweater weather in comparison! Nearly every day in August has been over 100 degrees here, so we were a touch giddy.

Armed with fresh butternut squash from a local farm, and a desire to make a frugal, simple meal, I set off to make a stew. I cooked beans in the slow cooker while I was away at work, and when I came home, I was able to assemble this dish and have dinner in under 45 minutes. Not bad. If one was in a real hurry and bought frozen, cubed butternut squash, I imagine you could cut that time down to 15 minutes. For me, I prefer fresh – especially when it’s in season!

This stew is a lovely, spicy-sweet blend of flavors and textures. I forced myself to stop after a huge bowlful, but I could have easily had seconds or thirds, in spite of how filling it was. I brought a sample to a coworker for a taste; she loved it. Sounds like a win to me! 

I measured amounts in this recipe, but you can certainly alter as you see fit. Feel free to use canned beans if that’s your desire. Increase or decrease the jalapenos or chipotle chili powder to suit your heat tolerance. It was relatively spicy when I made it, so if you can’t handle a lot of heat, you might want to only use 1 jalapeno. If you don’t have smoked meat, a bit of cooked, crumbled bacon or salt pork might do nicely, or you could simply omit the meat altogether, and add a touch of smoked paprika. That’s what I love about stews – there really isn’t a “wrong” way to go!

Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

2 T grapeseed oil

1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 c butternut squash, diced in half-inch cubes

3 c cooked black beans (about 2 15-oz cans)

2 c shredded, smoked pork or chicken

1 ½ T ground cumin

½ t ground chipotle chile powder

1 t sweet paprika

3 c chicken stock

Salt to taste

Optional accompaniments:

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped cilantro

In a large, heavy pot, heat grapeseed oil to medium heat. Add onion and jalapenos and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add butternut squash and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add beans, pork, cumin, chipotle chili powder, and stock and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt. Allow to simmer until butternut squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve  topped with tomatoes and cilantro.

Serves 4.


Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetables

Tomatillo Turkey Chili

tomatillo turkey chiliThis Thanksgiving, don’t throw away those turkey leftovers!

Remember the meat from those turkey wings and drumsticks I used the other day to make gluten-free turkey gravy? All that meat didn’t go to waste – it was used to make a delicious, warming turkey chili!

I actually purchase a larger turkey than necessary for Thanksgiving each year. I love the leftovers. They make great filling for enchiladas, sandwiches, or even taste good eaten cold, straight from the fridge, late at night. Not that I would know or anything. But now, the leftovers star in a spicy, flavorful chili. Or you could add crushed tortilla chips and call it tortilla soup. Whatever you call it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you try it!

Of course, you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to make a chili like this. You can use any leftover chicken or turkey, or you can even purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and use it, if that’s your thing. It’ll all taste delicious in this soup. Heck, you could even go meatless, and use vegetable stock and add some cubed sweet potatoes or squash, and make a delicious vegetarian soup. It all sounds yummy to me.

If you can’t find tomatillos, you can substitute a 16-20 oz jar of bottled salsa verde/tomatillo salsa. Tomatillos are plentiful around here in Texas – but the cheapest ones are usually at the Latin groceries.

Tomatillo Turkey Chili, adapted from Simply Recipes

1 ½ lbs tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut in half

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped

5-6 c cooked turkey or chicken, shredded

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 c chicken broth

½ c gluten-free beer (such as Bard’s Tale) – optional, but it adds a wonderful flavor

2 c diced tomatoes or tomato puree

1 t ground cumin

1 t ground coriander

1 t dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c chopped cilantro

 Place the tomatillos and jalapenos cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Scatter onions and garlic around tomatillos and jalapenos. Place under broiler for 5-7 minutes or until skins on tomatillos blacken. Remove, and when cool, pour tomatillos, jalapenos, onion and garlic, including any juices, into a food processor. Pulse until well blended.

 Heat a large stockpot to medium heat and add tomatillo mixture and chipotle pepper. Stur around for a minute or two, and add turkey, beans, broth, beer, tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

 Immediately before serving, taste and adjust salt and pepper seasonings as necessary, and stir in most of the cilantro, reserving a bit to use as garnish.

Optional: Top with sour cream and cheese.

 Serves 5-6.


Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups


food-6231I’m sure a lot of people out there have a chili recipe. I’ve grown up in Texas, around here there are chili cook-offs held in just about every city from Laredo to Amarillo. And everyone has their own version. Some make “Texas Red”, which is never made with beans, some add coffee or chocolate, some add bell peppers, and up in Cincinnati, they serve it over spaghetti. (Which doesn’t seem like chili to me, but hey, who am I to judge?) Mine is somewhere close to a Texas Red…only I did break the rules. I added beans. Because, frankly, meat has gotten expensive. Personally, I enjoy the texture beans add to the dish…and they’re healthy, so why not?

Anyway, this has been a recipe that has been tweaked for years. It’s relatively hot, but not burn-the-pants-off-ya hot. And if you wish to make it gluten-free, use a gluten-free beer (such as Redbridge), or use additional chicken broth (or beef broth, even). (Note: Several of my family members are celiac, and the Redbridge, which is supposedly wheat and barley-free, has even caused issues. If this is an issue for you, please use broth instead of the beer.) And as for the dried chiles, feel free to substitute. Just be aware, if you substitute with a hotter chile, just use less. Or don’t…but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Enjoy this chili with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and diced onions.

8-9 dried guajillo peppers, stems and seeds removed

5-6 dried chipotle peppers, stems and seeds removed

3 lbs lean ground beef

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

3 T minced garlic

1 7 oz can green chiles

3 T chili powder, preferably New Mexico Hot (you can use mild if you want milder chili)

4 T ground cumin

2 t salt

2 t freshly ground black pepper

1 small can tomato paste

1 c chicken broth

2 c water

1 c beer

3 cans beans (kidney and/or white northern), with liquid

1 ½ T maple syrup, or to taste


Put the dried peppers in a small saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30-40 minutes. Put peppers and 1 c of the water into blender and blend until smooth. Set chili paste aside.


Brown ground beef in a large stockpot or saucepan over medium heat, stirring until crumbly; drain the excess drippings. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes more, until the onions are translucent.


Add the green chiles, regular chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper and mix well. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking, to blend the flavors.


Stir in the tomato paste, chicken broth, ¾ c of the chili paste and 2 cups water. Bring to boil and reduce heat. Cook, covered for 1 hour.


Add beans with liquid, and add beer. Stir. Cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour, until of desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the amount of the chili paste and other seasonings as necessary. Add maple syrup and cook for 5-10 minutes more.

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Filed under Beef, Main Dishes, Soups