Winter Squash & Black Bean Turkey Chili

This chili has a few more steps than most, but it’s not difficult. You will be well rewarded for your effort. A highly seasoned spice paste is used to create a depth of flavor and complexity that you will love. Make this on a crisp Sunday afternoon when you have time to stir the pot and let all of the ingredients come together on a low simmer.

Winter Squash & Black Bean Turkey Chili

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
This chili has a few more steps than most, but it's not difficult. You will be well rewarded for your effort. A highly seasoned spice paste is used to create a depth of flavor and complexity that you will love. Make this on a crisp Sunday afternoon when you have time to stir the pot and let all of the ingredients come together on a low simmer.
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Course Main Course
Servings 8

Ingredients
 

For the spice paste:

  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, or 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6 whole cloves, or ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 inch piece mexican cinnamon, or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the chili:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Mexican style beer, or another cup of chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup Masa flour
  • 28 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

Optional garnishes

  • sour cream or Mexican crema
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped cilantro

Instructions
 

For the spice paste:

  • If using whole spices, gently toast the cumin, cloves, and mexican cinnamon in a dry skillet for a few minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind until they are a powder.
  • Finely grate garlic and place in a small bowl. Add the oregano, cumin, cloves, chili powder, cinnamon and salt. Mash into a paste.

For the chili:

  • Warm the olive oil in a large stock pot. Cook the onion over medium heat with a pinch of salt, stirring often, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the spice paste and cook 1 minute, stirring the whole time so it doesn’t burn. Add the turkey and 1 teaspoon of the salt and stir vigorously with a spoon, breaking up the meat. Add the tomatoes, cook another 4-5 minutes, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the broth and beer if using, and the squash or pumpkin, then partially cover and cook 45 minutes until thickened.
  • Taste for seasoning, and add more salt if needed. Stir in the maple syrup, and sometimes I find it needs an extra bit of cumin or pinch of cinnamon. Pour in the black beans, and finally stir in the masa flour. Cook another 3-5 minutes and serve warm with desired toppings.
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