Fall! After a long, hot summer I always welcome the cooler nights I can spend hovering over a stove, standing in front of an oven, coaxing sweetness from squash, sweet potatoes, apples, pears. Summer is for slicing up tomatoes, fanning them out on a plate, and eating them with salt and pepper (my meal of choice when I wasn’t eating cookies) and for tossing together salady concoctions of raw corn or shaved zucchini; by the end of the season I’m ready to really cook again.
This chili is a riff on the chili I always make, minus tomatoes, plus peppers and butternut squash, with shredded chicken in place of ground meat. The chunks of squash break down and help to thicken the chili.
This time I wanted to do something different from the usual cornbread accompaniment but still wanted it to be sweet. Sweet potato biscuits with flecks of sage made pretty, rustic toppers and brought to mind pot pie! Okay winter, I’m ready.
[/donotprint]Butternut Chicken Chili and Sweet Potato Biscuits
Chili, adapted from my go-to chili
Serves 4 to 6
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 to 2 jalapenos, minced
- 30 oz canned white beans, drained
- 1 1/2 to 2-lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 bottle of beer (I used Negra Modelo)
- about 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 to 3 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 to 3 Tbsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 to 2 canned chipotles in adobo, minced
- a few splashes cider vinegar
- cooked, shredded chicken
- salt and pepper
- olive or canola oil
- big bunch of cilantro, chopped
- shredded cheddar and sour cream for topping
- Heat about 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil over medium heat in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, red pepper, jalapeno, and butternut squash, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 7-10 minutes, until browned and softened.
- Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the beer and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Add the chicken stock, beans, spices, and chipotles in adobo. Add the cooked, shredded chicken. Bring to a simmer and let stew, uncovered, until thick, for about an hour. Taste, and add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings if necessary. Add the cider vinegar and cilantro. Serve!
- 1 3/4 cups (8.75 oz) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- about 6 to 10 sage leaves, minced (optional)
- 6 Tbsp (3 oz) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks and chilled, plus 1/2 Tbsp melted butter
- 3/4 cup sweet potato puree*, chilled
- 1/3 cup buttermilk or cream (recipe called for buttermilk, but I used cream)
- Butter an 8-inch cake pan and preheat oven to 425.
- Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sage. Cut in the butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until dough is the consistency of coarse meal. Whisk together the sweet potato puree and cream or buttermilk and stir it into the dough with a wooden spoon.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead gently until it comes together but is still slightly lumpy. Pat out to a 1-inch thickness and, using a floured biscuit cutter (or the floured rim of a drinking glass), stamp out your biscuits. Gather together scraps and repeat to cut out more biscuits (you should get 8).
- Arrange the biscuits snugly in the pan and brush the tops with melted butter. Bake until golden, 20 to 24 minutes.
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