So we seemingly have a typical constant wave of roller coaster weather once again and of course a day or two of “chili” weather so I automatically gravitate to one of Rick Bayless’ recipes. Slightly adapted of course and new to me adding butternut squash should be interesting. I wasn’t in the mood for finely dicing the squash which didn’t bother me at all and I rather like that little bit of sweetness to the dish.
It goes without saying that I did some tinkering with the recipe, but all in all, it was great and perfect for a lousy weather dinner with a side of hot buttered old-fashioned homemade Angel Biscuits.
Once again I relied upon the Instant Pot, one of my favorite appliances for a good pot of chili fast when you have prepped everything, a whole seventeen minutes under pressure, a natural release and the option of keeping the chili warm for as long as you want to…
Makes 5 cups, enough for 4 to 6
4 large ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4-1 pound ground pork (I used my homemade sausage)
3/4-1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (considered frozen or fresh chopped prepared onions)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup cooked black beans (I added a can of dark kidney beans &pinto beans as well)
1 1/2 cups small diced butternut squash
2 tablespoons masa harina blended with some of the sauce from the chili
Garnishes: Just about anything you want, but for tonight, shredded white cheddar cheese, pepper jack or Mexican blend cheese, chopped green onions and chopped or slivered radishes.
The chile seasoning: Heat a medium-size skillet over medium. When hot, toast chiles one by one: open flat and press down with a spatula until the chile releases its aroma and toasts lightly, 10 to 15 seconds. Flip and toast the other side. In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking. Drain. In a food processor or blender, combine the chiles and a little water, garlic, and cumin. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping down and stirring frequently. (If the mixture won’t move through the blender blades, stir in a tablespoon or two of water to get things going.) With a rubber spatula, work the chile mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl.
Brown meat and onion. Heat the oil in a medium-size (4-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela) over medium-high heat. When hot, add the ground beef and onions. Stir, breaking up clumps, until browned thoroughly, about 10 minutes. (If there is lots of rendered fat, tip it off and discard.)
Add the chile puree and stir for about 5 minutes as the mixture thickens and concentrates all those rich flavors. Stir in 2 cups water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, simmer 45 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, butternut squash, and masa harina. Partially cover and simmer gently over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the sauce has reduced to coat the meat rather thickly, about 30 minutes.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and radishes.