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Prep 20 mins
Cook 8 hrs
I love this chili. The combination of beef, butternut squash, ancho chiles and cilantro is a real winner. Don’t be afraid to make extra because it’s great reheated.
Large (minimum 5 quart) slow cooker
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick, piece (2 inches)
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, including juice 796 mL
- 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (1 inch)
- 2 cups cooked dried kidney beans or 2 cups canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 dried New Mexico chiles or 2 ancho chilies or 2 guajillo chilies
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- In a skillet, heat oil over medium high heat for 30 seconds. Add beef and onions and cook, stirring, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, toasted cumin, oregano, salt, peppercorns and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil.
- Place squash and beans in slow cooker stoneware and cover with sauce. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, until squash is tender.
- Half an hour before recipe is finished cooking, in a heatproof bowl, soak dried chile peppers in boiling water for 30 minutes, weighing down with a cup to ensure they are submerged. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. Discard stems and chop coarsely. In a blender, combine rehydrated chiles, cilantro and reserved soaking liquid. Puree. Add to stoneware and stir well. Cover and Cook on High for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly and flavors meld.
- TIP: If you prefer, you can soak and puree the chilies while preparing the chili and refrigerate until you’re ready to add them to the recipe.
- MAKE AHEAD: This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete Steps 1 and 3. Cover and refrigerate tomato and chile mixtures separately overnight. The next morning, continue with the recipe. Serves 6.
- 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics.J. Finlayson.
My kids think this is the best chili I've ever made (and I've made some good ones). The butternut squash adds a creamy quality -- in a good way-- and doesn't overpower with squashiness. The recipe definitely makes more servings than listed. Leftovers freeze well.
This is the best chili. I've also made it with beef stew meat. The spices are what really give this chili depth and set it apart from the rest!
Awesome recipe. Hubby and kids both loved it. The squash adds a depth of sweetness to the dish, and it's so easy to make in the crock pot. I substituted ground venison for the beef, chili powder for the dried chili's and powdered cinnamon instead of stick. This one is a keeper.