I am always looking for new ways to prepare meals with old, stand-by ingredients. And when I say old, I am by no means trying to insult those ingredients. They have seasonal staying power and for good reason. They are delicious on their own.
But my intent is to take older, more familiar ingredients in a new direction and shake things up a bit at the dinner table. Broaden our food horizons, if you will, and find new meals to add into the repertoire. I was able to do just that when I came across this recipe. It started as a vegetarian recipe, and that is how I planned to serve it. But at the last minute I was forced to change my mind. I realized I didn’t have any vegetable stock or broth on hand, and I added some roasted chicken breast to the mixture to give it a little more substance.
Honestly, the recipe can easily go either way. And it is a perfect choice if you have vegetarians and meat eaters in your house. Simply make the chicken available as a add-on option along with cheese, red onion and crushed tortilla chips. Regardless of the path you choose, you will be left with a satisfying, warming and comforting meal. This delicious, one-pot meal is a snap to make and healthy to boot. You can’t go wrong.
Black Bean and Chicken Chili With Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
Makes 4 main-course servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-1/2 cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2-1/2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled butternut squash
3 tablespoons chili powder
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2-1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles with juice
3 cups packed coarsely chopped Swiss chard leaves (about 1 bunch)
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until tender and golden, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add squash; stir and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Stir in beans, broth and Rotel; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered until squash is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the chard and allow the heat of the mixture to wilt the chard so that it is tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with toppings such as cheese, red onion, cilantro and crushed tortilla chips.