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Beefy Butternut Squash Chili

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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For the Seasoning Blend:

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder 

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 

2 teaspoons dried oregano 

2 teaspoons kosher salt 

Freshly ground black pepper 

For the Chili:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes 

1 cup finely chopped Vidalia or sweet onions 

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 

3 garlic cloves, grated on a rasp or finely minced 

3 tablespoons tomato paste 

2 tablespoons hot sauce (I like Frank's RedHot here) 

1 pound ground beef chuck (80 percent meat, 20 percent fat) 

2 tablespoons fine cornmeal 

1 1/2 cups beef stock 

1 1/2 cups red wine (any inexpensive Chianti will do) 

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

Kosher salt 

1 cinnamon stick, optional


  1. Make the seasoning blend: In a small bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, pumpkin pie spice, oregano, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Sear the beef: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat until it begins to swirl. Add the beef cubes and sprinkle with half of the seasoning blend. Cook, stirring intermittently, until the beef is browned on all sides but not cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the beef chunks with a slotted spoon and set on a plate
  3. Build the flavor: Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste and hot sauce. Cook, stirring, until everything turns dark reddish brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Complete the chili: Add the ground beef and sprinkle with the remaining half of the seasoning blend. Cook, stirring, until the beef is browned, then add the reserved beef chunks back to the pot along with the cornmeal, stock, wine and squash. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the chili is thick and the liquid reduced, 40 to 50 minutes. Taste and season with another pinch of salt if needed, but the seasoning blend you've made should have this tasting perfect for you. If using cinnamon, add the stick 20 minutes before the chili is done, then remove before serving. Serve warm.