I had originally intended to prep the chili this morning and put it in my crock-pot to cook all day, but since I was home I just let it simmer for a couple of hours on low on the stove. Because of the time involved chopping everything up, this is probably not a "weeknight chili recipe", particularly if you work during the day. However, if you put it together ahead of time (chop your veggies and meat and pre-cook them) you could easily put it in your crock-pot in the morning and cook on low during the day. You would just need to roast the cubed butternut squash when you got home. When I've used butternut squash in the past, I purchased it fresh and already peeled and cubed. Today I wanted to try doing that myself. While it wasn't difficult, it definitely was more time consuming and a bit messy...so if you want to save some time, I would suggest enjoying the luxury of buying it already cubed and ready to use. If you don't like butternut squash or don't want the extra carbs they add to this chili, you could easily omit adding it.
I decided southern style buttermilk biscuits would go great with our chili, so I made some using blanched almond flour. I used a combination of both butter and cream cheese in them (the cream cheese was used as a substitute for the "shortening" frequently used in traditional buttermilk biscuits). Instead of rolling these biscuits out and cutting them, I used my small retractable trigger type ice cream scoop to portion the dough out into 12 equal sized mounds onto my baking sheet and then lightly tamp them down on top (they were about 1-inch thick). As they baked, they spread out some and touched each other. The batter was surprisingly very light and airy and not dense like other biscuits I've made using almond flour. I added one full cup of thick rich buttermilk to the dough and they turned out very light, tender and moist. Next time I make them I will see if reducing the buttermilk to 3/4 cup (and adding more as necessary) might keep them from spreading out as much. These tasted just like regular southern buttermilk biscuits and were very delicate (these might be difficult to slice in half though because of their tenderness). We enjoyed these lightly brushed with melted butter on top.
I snapped a few photos for you to see below as well as the recipes for the chili, roasted butternut squash and the biscuits. Enjoy!
Spicy & Sweet Autumn Chili
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 lb. boneless beef chuck arm roast, diced into 1/2" cubes
2 - 3 tablespoons oil, to saute vegetables and brown beef
1 cup onion, diced
1-1/2 - 2 cups red, yellow or orange sweet bell peppers, diced
1 Poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
5 - 6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon "chipotle chili powder" (or use regular chili powder to reduce heat)
1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika (or use sweet paprika to reduce heat)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin (I used 1/2 tsp regular cumin and 1/2 tsp. roasted cumin)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less or omit to reduce heat)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or less to reduce heat)
1 14.5-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (including juice)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 6-oz. tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 cups water (more or less, depending on preferred thickness)
In a large stockpot, add a couple tablespoons of oil and quickly saute onion, sweet bell peppers, Poblano and jalapeno peppers until almost tender; add minced garlic and cook a couple more minutes, stirring frequently (covering the pan for a bit helps speed up cooking the veggies). Using a slotted spoon, remove the veggies and set aside on a platter. Add additional tablespoon of oil and brown beef cubes well, until almost done. Remove browned beef cubes and set aside on the platter along with the cooked pepper and onion mixture. Add ground sirloin to the pot and brown quickly, breaking up and crumbling the beef as it cooks. When the ground sirloin is cooked, add the platter of cooked beef cubes and pepper mixture back to the pot. Add all the spices, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth and water and stir well. Bring to a medium boil and taste to adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cover the pot and turn heat to low and simmer for 2 to 2-1/2 hours on low (if desired, at this point the chili can be placed into a crock-pot and cooked on low for 8 - 10 hours instead of simmering on top of the stove).
Ladle chili into bowls and stir in roasted butternut squash cubes (recipe below); top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired. Serves approximately 6.
Roasted Butternut Squash
4-6 cups of cubed fresh butternut squash
Celtic salt or sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with foil and place the cubed butternut squash in a single layer on it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste; toss squash cubes with olive oil and spread back out in a single layer. Bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned; stirring a couple of times to evenly brown, Remove from oven when squash is tender on the inside and lightly browned on the outside.
Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits
3 cups blanched almond flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon Kosher or Celtic salt
3 tablespoons chilled butter, small diced
2 ounces very cold brick style cream cheese, diced
3/4 - 1 cup cold buttermilk (start with 3/4 cup; add additional if necessary to moisten dry ingredients)\
1 or 2 tablespoons of butter, melted (to top biscuits with near the end of baking)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to mix well. Add diced chilled butter and cream cheese. Using a pastry cutter, quickly cut butter and cream cheese into dry ingredients until it appears crumbly. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add cold buttermilk, starting with 3/4 cup, stirring to mix well (add additional buttermilk as necessary to wet dry ingredients until it pulls together into a dough). Mix quickly until a soft sticky dough forms. The dough will be light, airy and fluffy. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet (I used lightly buttered non-stick foil), use a cookie scoop or retractable ice cream scoop to make 12 equal sized mounds of dough on the baking sheet, spaced evenly apart. Lightly tamp mounds down on top to approximately 1-inch thick. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes; remove and brush tops lightly with melted butter; return to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool about 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Makes 1 dozen biscuits
***Note: I used the full 1 cup of buttermilk which produced very tender, delicate moist biscuits that spread out a bit as they baked. To help reduce the spread, start with 3/4 cup buttermilk and add just enough extra to moisten the dry ingredients and form a light, fluffy dough.