butternut-squashWe have been having a wonderful autumn here in the Netherlands. So lovely, in fact, that I’m not missing summer as much as I thought I would. The days are sunny and crisp, and the leaves are just starting to change colors. I’ve already traded my slippers for my furry boots, and the thick sweaters have emerged from the attic once again. Walks with Pastis are refreshing and invigorating… instead of hot and sweaty. Hmmm, I may start liking this season after all!
One thing that’s great about autumn is the food. Apples, pears, figs, plums, mushrooms and pumpkins, to name just a few. I’ve used them all these last few weeks! A few days ago I made chili with beef, black beans and butternut squash, and it was a hit at my house. Spicy, slightly sweet and very warming. And to tame down the heat and make it extra delicious, I topped it with cubed avocado. Here’s the recipe!

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili
Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • pinch of dried chili flakes
  • 350g ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 240ml strong beef stock
  • 750g cubed butternut squash
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly-cracked pepper
  • 2 sweet red peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 can black beans (400g), drained
  • 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
  • cubed avocado and chopped flat leaf parsley, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole and gently sauté the onion for 6 minutes. Add the chili and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, cumin, coriander and turmeric and brown the beef for 8 minutes. Tip in the tomatoes, add the stock and the squash, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Add in the red peppers and beans, and stir in the sugar. Cook for a further 15 minutes. Serve with chopped parsley and cubed avocado.

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