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Jamie Barton’s Butternut Squash Chili

I absolutely love making this chili in the autumn and winter... it's delicious, and beyond chopping ingredients, it's almost no work! Pair with any chili toppings you like... I suggest sour cream, shredded cheese, and perhaps some sliced green onions.



- 1 lb of ground meat of your choice (I love ground turkey or beef in mine!)

- 1 large butternut squash: peeled, de-seeded, and diced into 1/2 inch/1 cm cubes

- 1 medium onion, diced

- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

- 2-4 adobo peppers in sauce, de-seeded, finely diced, and with 2-4 spoonfuls of the sauce, depending on how spicy you'd like your chili to be. (In the US, look on the international aisle at the grocery store at the Mexican/Latin America section... the cans are quite tiny! If you cannot find these, I suggest using roasted poblano peppers instead... directions on how to roast and prepare poblano peppers are at the bottom of this recipe!)

- 1 Tbsp mild chili powder

- 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder (if you can't find it, just add 1/2 tsp of mild chili powder to the recipe)

- 1 tsp ground cumin

- 2 tsp Mexican oregano (regular oregano is fine if that's what you've got!)

- 2 15 oz. cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes

- 1/2 cup of chicken stock (may also use vegetable stock)

- 2 15 oz. cans of whatever beans you'd like in your chili... I prefer one can of black beans, and one can of red kidney beans

- Oil (olive oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil... whatever you have around is fine, as long as it can be cooked with)

- Salt and pepper to taste


1. Prepare and dice all of your veggies.

2. Heat 2 Tbsp oil at medium heat in the bottom of a soup pot large enough to hold all of the ingredients, preferably a nonstick soup pot.

3. When the oil is hot, add your diced onion to the pot, and cook until the onions are translucent, likely 8-10 minutes.

4. Once the onions are cooked through, add in your minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

5. Add in all of your powdered spices (except for salt and pepper)... stir to combine, and keep stirring until the spices are well mixed in and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

6. Next, add in your finely diced adobo chili peppers and the reserved sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute.

7. At this point, push everything in your pot to the edges and add in your ground meat. Cook the meat, breaking it up and eventually mixing the meat up with all of the spices, onions, and peppers. Cook until the meat has very little pink left in it.

8. Add all of the other ingredients and stir to combine. Don't over salt or pepper... you can add more of that once everything has cooked.

9. Raise the heat to medium-high, and let it come to a gentle boil. At this point, stir the chili to let the heat distribute evenly, put the lid on the pot, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook until the butternut squash is your desired "done-ness"... I find that it usually takes between 25-45 minutes, depending on the size of the batch.

10. Taste test, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Top with desired chili toppings, and enjoy! Note: This is naturally a gluten free recipe, and can easily be a vegan recipe... just don't use meat, and use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken stock.


What I really love in this recipe is the smokiness of the peppers. I found that bell peppers (which are very commonly used in chili) tend to give me acid reflux, but the smokier varieties like adobo and poblano peppers do not. If you can't find canned adobo peppers in sauce, then see if you can find poblano peppers... they're absolutely delicious in this recipe! When you're looking for peppers like poblanos, you can tell which ones are milder and which ones are spicier by the shape of the pepper. If you prefer your food on the milder side, look for peppers that have a blunt, bulbous end to them. The peppers that are pointier are the spicier ones! Pick out 4 poblano peppers at the grocery store. Wash them when you get home, dry them off, and cut them in half length-wise. Take out the seeds, and remove the stem as well as the knob of flesh just below the stem. Get a baking sheet and either use a silicone baking mat, or cover your baking sheet in aluminum foil. (If you use aluminum foil, be sure to spray with oil before you put the peppers on it!) Put the peppers on the baking sheet with the cut side down/skin side up, and be sure to leave a little bit of room between each pepper half. Spray with oil, and then put into an oven that is set at HI BROIL. You want to broil them until the skin is bubbling up, nice and brown. Watch your peppers like a hawk, as they can go to charred through quite quickly! If you see that some of the peppers are cooking quicker than others, turn your baking sheet and continue to watch. Once the peppers have skin that's bubbling and dark brown, pull them out of the oven. Immediately put the peppers in a bowl, and cover the bowl in plastic wrap or something else that will keep the heat in. Let the peppers sweat for about 15-20 minutes, and then remove and discard the skins. Dice the pepper halves, and voila! You've prepped your smokey, delicious peppery goodness for the chili. :)

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