I tend to cook with the seasons. That means I like to eat ingredients when they are seasonally available; which means fresh greens and fruit in the summer, heartier winter vegetables in the winter.
It’s been a long, hot summer here in Vancouver, with very little rain. It’s only just over the last few days that we’ve started to feel a change in the weather, and have been happy to see some badly-needed rain.
One of the things I love most about living here is our beautiful, warm falls. You can pretty much count on there being beautiful weather well into October.
So while Starbucks may be already pimping out the PSL, I’m going to try to enjoy the last bit of summer for a while.
However, I am turning to warmer recipes these days, now that it’s cooled down enough for me to turn on my oven. I’m loving my French Enamel cookware (I am lucky enough to now own TWO Staub Cocottes), which are busy these days making up pots of beans and soups and stews.
Even before I was a vegetarian, I made my chili without meat. I just don’t think it needs it, simply put. Chili, made with beans, especially, is so meaty and full of protein already. It really fills you up.
The spin on this one includes one of my favorite fall ingredients: butternut squash. It also includes and extra dose of protein in the form of quinoa.
It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, very warming and oh-so-filling. You can make this in your French Enamelware, or in your slow cooker.
Quinoa, Black Bean, Butternut Chili
- 1 medium onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 c vegetable stock
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 smallish butternut squash
- 1 large (14-oz) can of diced tomatoes
- 1 c uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 c chopped cilantro
- Heat your dutch oven over medium heat, and add a couple tablespoons of oil. Dice up the onion and add it to the pot. Season and stir well. Allow onions to sweat out for 5-10 minutes, until soft.
- While the onions are cooking, cut the butternut squash in half, and peel. Scoop out the seeds, then cut into 1″ dice.
- Finely dice the garlic and add it, stirring, just until fragrant. Now add all the spices and stir well so that they coat the onions and garlic.
- Now add the squash, and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes or so more, allowing the edges to soften and pick up some colour.
- Now add everything else, stir well, and taste for seasoning. Allow to simmer, partially covered, on top of the stove for about 20-30 minutes, until the squash is soft and everything is thick and comes together.
- Before serving, taste and see if it needs more salt or heat. Stir in most of the cilantro, reserving a few leaves for garnish. Garnish with a sprinkling of cilantro, and slices of avocado, if you wish.