butternut squash and turkey chili

butternut squash chili_2_Fotor

butternut squash chili

butternut squash chili_1_Fotor

You can’t go wrong with a great bowl of chili. This ground turkey and butternut squash version is soooooooooo delicious.  Total cooking time for this chili is under 1 hour and the end result is sublime–thick, well balanced, and full of flavor. Although the ingredients list is long, most items are pantry staples and none are hard to find nor costly.  Stone ground corn meal is key in this recipe. It serves as a thickening agent and its natural sweetness balances out the chili powder, ground cinnamon, and cumin. Top the chili with scallions and a dollop of sour cream and serve with warm wedges of pumpkin cornbread.

The how to… 
Recipe adapted from The New York Times
8-10 servings

butternut squash chili_ingredients_Fotor


 3 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded & diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded & finely chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
4 Tbsp chili powder
3 cups cubed butternut squash
2 15 oz cans of black beans, rinsed & drained
1 14.5 oz can diced and fire roasted tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup old fashioned stone ground yellow corn meal
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch black pepper
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Brown meat. Heat olive oil over high heat in a 6-quart dutch oven. When slightly smoking, add ground turkey. Using a wooden spoon, break the meat into smaller chunks and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  2. Sauté veggies. Add the onions, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeño, and ½ tsp salt. Stir into the ground turkey and sauté for 10 minutes until vegetables are soft.
  3. Toast spices. Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to toast spices.
  4. Bring to boil then simmer. Add squash, beans, diced tomatoes, stock, corn meal, oregano, bay leaves, remaining 1 tsp of salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine and bring mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover pot with lid, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve. Remove from heat and stir in apple cider vinegar.  Let cool, ladle into bowls, top with desired toppings, and serve with cornbread.

Some extras…
*Topping ideas: sour cream, sliced scallions, shredded cheddar cheese, lime wedges, avocado, and fresh cilantro.
*Make the chili 1 day ahead. Similar to a pot of soup or stew, chili is best served one day later after the flavors have mellowed and melded together. 


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