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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.