The past few days have been good days for chili in Austin, with temps dropping below 32 in a city that does not know how to handle the cold. I figured I better take advantage of the fleeting cold weather the only way I know how – cook up a bubbling pot of hearty, warming goodness.
I’ve also eaten more bacon in the past month living in Austin than I have in my entire life. Bacon is not something I’d particularly like to be eating more of, but when the smell of bacon floods your house every time you walk in the door, it’s pretty irresistible…
This is thanks to my new flatmate, who enjoys bacon as his main food group, along with an avocado and sweet potato here and there.
This chili / soup / stew or whatever you’d prefer to call it, was inspired by my unending embrace of the Tex-Mex food scene here in Austin. Also by the giant pumpkin I hauled with me here from Maryland, which has been hanging out and keeping cool in the garage. The pumpkin was called a “Pink Lady” at the market I worked for, but I believe that was a made up name. It’s a variety of kabocha squash with a smooth & creamy texture and a mild but sweet flavor. Perfect for chili, I say.
Here’s my recipe that’s a bit of this and a bit of that, no super precise measurements. It has the perfect amount of warm, spicy kick for my taste, but start with less spice and adjust to your taste if you’re sensitive. Oh, and if you top it with anything, make sure it’s bacon. I warned my flatmate Alex that the chili was vegetarian so he might want to think about cooking some bacon to top it off. And then I ate the bacon too (once again, that smell – too enticing) and all was just right.
Black bean + kabocha chili, inspired by sprouted kitchen
gluten free + vegan, minus the bacon on top ;)
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
- 3-4 cups peeled + cubed kabocha squash (butternut or sweet potato would be fine, too)
- 4 large stalks of kale, chopped
- 1 14-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- ~ 2 ½ cups cooked black beans
- 3 cups vegetable broth (I used my leftover bean cooking liquid plus broth for the remainder of the 3 cups)
- 1 t cumin
- 1 t cayenne pepper
- 1 t hot smoked paprika
- 1 t dried oregano
- 1 t cacao powder
- sea salt, to taste (I used about 1 t)
- fresh chopped cilantro, or cilantro lime pesto
- diced avocado
- plain Greek yogurt
- lime wedges
- a few slices of cooked bacon, chopped
In a heavy bottomed pot, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and jalapeno and saute until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, cayenne and smoked paprika and cook for another minute or two, stirring.
Add pumpkin, black beans, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, oregano and cacao and stir to combine. Increase heat to high. When pot comes to a boil, reduce heat to med-low, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until squash is tender.
At this point I gave the soup a few pulses with my immersion blender to thicken it a bit, but this is optional. Be sure to leave some pumpkin chunks and black beans for texture, though! Stir in chopped kale and salt to taste, and simmer again on low, covered, about 5 minutes more. Serve with chopped cilantro, crispy pieces of bacon, diced avocado, Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of lime for the fullll experience.
P.s. This makes a mean leftover brunch topped with a sriracha-doused fried egg. (See my instagram for proof..)
Enjoy the rest of this chilly chili-eating season! I’d say I will miss it when it’s over, but I won’t. I can’t wait for spring!!
*This recipe is shared on Gluten Free Fridays