This chili was part planned, part accident and part desperation.
I used two small acorn squash, roasted in the oven until tender. When I turned on the oven to roast some potatoes to go with my chili…the acorn squash were waiting for me. Alone, and forgotten. Oops! There was also a block of tofu in the refrigerator that needed to see the light of day or forever hold its peace.
Served over rice, this makes a really hearty dinner! I recommend eating it with something – anything – fresh. Like salad. Or raw carrots. Or an apple. Or something that isn’t brown and cooked to within an inch of its life. I used the slow cooker to cook the beans, and then finished the chili on the stove. This is something you could leave on in the morning, after soaking the beans overnight, and then finish them up quickly after work.
LoLo’s Uber Charged Chili
(Makes one large pot of chili – about 4 quarts)
3 cups dry pinto beans
8 oz. salsa
1 block of tofu
3 cups of cooked acorn squash (or whatever you have on hand. Pumpkin or butternut might be nice, too!)
1 can of diced tomatoes, unseasoned
1 tsp. crushed bay leaves
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste
Grated cheddar cheese
Soak the beans overnight. Pick out any that float, are discolored, or are otherwise ugly. Also remove anything from the pot that isn’t a bean, or water.
In the morning, drain the beans. Add the beans to your slow cooker, cover with water by about 1”. Cook on high for 8 hours.
Remove the cooked beans to a large soup pot, taking off some of the water if there is too much covering the beans. You want it to cover by about 1/4” in the new pot.
Add the tomatoes, salsa, bay leaves, cumin and paprika to the beans and stir to combine.
In a food processor, combine the squash, tofu and a few scoops of cooked beans. Puree, then stir into the pot of beans.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar. Hot sauce can also be added at this point, or at the table, if you do that sort of thing.
Served over rice, with something fresh and green on the side, this makes a fabulous, and hearty meal. Enjoy!