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Butternut Squash, Corn and Hominy Chili

Butternut Squash, Corn and Hominy Chili

It’s chili season, and while it’s sad to say so long to the summer’s bountiful produce, autumn’s array has it’s special charms, too, as well as dishes that are more warming and hearty. Chili is one of my favorite foods, usually put off until the cooler season descends upon us, both because it’s heartier and because I don’t mind turning on my stove so much when it’s fall. Chili is also one of my favorite things to make because it is so adaptive: work with the veggies or plant proteins you like, scale it up or down, increase or decrease the spiciness -- it’s all up to you and what you have on hand.

With naturally sweet butternut squash and corn complemented by the spicy chiles, chewy hominy and beans commingling in a smoky tomato sauce, this chili shows once again that even without heavy ingredients, we can still have a complex, satisfying dish that fills us up without slowing us down. Serve on quinoa or rice with avocado or dairy-free sour cream. (Or both!)

(By the way, I like a very thick chili: if you prefer it soupier, simply add more vegetable stock.)

Butternut Squash, Corn and Hominy Chili

1 2/3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, divided (more if you prefer a thinner chili)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced, optional*
1 poblano pepper, seeded and minced, optional
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into smallish, uniform squares
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 or more chili powder
2 cups defrosted organic corn
30 oz. black beans, rinsed and drained
28-oz. crushed tomatoes
25-ounces hominy, drained and rinsed
1 - 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, optional**
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, deep skillet (cast iron is perfect for this if you have one), heat 1/3 cup of vegetable stock over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté, stirring often, for about six minutes. Add the garlic, peppers, butternut squash, additional 1/3 cup of vegetable stock, tamari and spices. Raise the temperature to medium-high, and cook, stirring often, for 10 - 13 minutes, until the squash pieces are softened.

Add the corn, black beans, crushed tomatoes, hominy and adobo sauce as well as final 1 cup of vegetable stock. Simmer on medium-low heat for 15 - 20 minutes. Enjoy over grains or potatoes with optional toppings. To serve in bell peppers, cut out a pumpkin face with a sharp knife (or don’t), remove seeds and membrane and bake, standing up, in a pan at 375 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes or until the pepper is appropriately decrepit looking. Look for peppers with flattish bottoms for this.

*Use whatever peppers you like, these were the ones I chose.

**You can find chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce in the Latino section of most well-stocked grocery stores. The sauce is unnecessary to this recipe but lends an enticing smoky flavor.

© 2013, 2014, Vegan Street

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