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I got a crock-pot from my parents as a holiday gift this year, and this is the recipe I chose to inaugurate it. It turned out very well, so I'm reposting it here [personal profile] jjhunter's encouragement. I've also posted it to my personal journal here, where the comments now include various useful pieces of advice and information about cooking with dried beans.

Squash and Black Bean Chili, from Judith Finlayson, The Healthy Slow Cooker: more than 100 recipes for health and wellness (Robert Rose: Toronto, 2006), pp. 288–9.


As written, this is a slow cooker/crock pot recipe, although it could probably work as a conventional stovetop recipe too, with appropriate cooking technique/time adjustments. It's vegetarian and vegan, although it includes an easy non-vegetarian variation if you're so inclined. It requires some stovetop pre-cooking and some heavy-duty chopping (unless you begin with pre-chopped squash, in which case it doesn't require much chopping at all).




1 tbsp (15 mL) oil, olive or other cooking oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano leaves
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds, toasted (1)
1 piece (3 inches/7.5 cm) cinnamon stick
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes, including juice
1 can (19 oz/150 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 cup (250 mL) soaked and cooked (2)
4 cups (1 L) cubed (1 inch/2.5 cm) peeled butternut squash
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 can (4.5 oz/127 mL) chopped mild green chilies (3)
1 finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, optional (4)
Finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

My notes on ingredients:

(1) I used both cumin seeds and some ground cumin, which I added to the onion/garlic during the sauteeing phase. I also semi-burned the hell out of my cumin seeds because I was cooking in a flimsy pan that always heats up way faster than I expect.
(2) I used beans that I had soaked overnight. They cooked nicely in the course of the day, but I think the fact that they cooked in the chili made it, shall we say, harder on my digestive system than it would have been if I'd started with cooked or canned beans. I recommend starting with pre-cooked beans. Again, see the notes to the entry in my journal here.
(3) I'd never used these before, and I'm not sure if the ones I bought were what the recipe was looking for. They were sort of... pickled? And they had a fairly strong taste, so I might not use a whole can again, especially in combination with:
(4) I used about a tablespoon of frozen chipotle puree. I made the puree by putting a can of chipotles in adobo in my blender, and since the recipe I was making at the time didn't require much, I froze the rest in an icecube tray and then transferred the cubes to a bag in the freezer. Again, this has a very strong taste, so I might use less of one or both of the chilies/chipotle in future attempts. YMMV, obviously. I should also say that as written, and as I made it, this chili is not particularly spicy - do with that what you prefer!



1) In a skillet (or pan of your choice that can hold all the necessary ingredients), heat oil. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, oregano, salt, toasted cumin (or ground cumin) and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add beans and squash and stir well.

2) Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (what I did) or high for 4 hours, until squash is tender. Add bell peppers, chiles, and chipotle pepper, if using. Cover and cook on high for 20 minutes, until bell pepper is tender. Discard cinnamon stick. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro.



Add 1 lb (500 g) lean ground beef (or whatever ground meat) along with onions in initial skillet phase. Cook, stirring, until meat is no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Drain off fat and continue with step 2.

I suppose one might potentially add soy protein crumbles of some sort too, if one were so inclined.
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