I don't really like butternut squash. But it's one of those things that come up all the time when you're looking for vegetarian or vegan recipes, and I thought it was probably high time I got over this dislike. There's not much I can eat now dammit; I'm slowly realising this as I approach Day 8 of veganism. Any limitations on what I actually like should be (s)quashed.
If I'm going to eat squash, then it needs some bold ballsy flavours to help me along with it. I attended the launch of a new Mexican chilli sauce called Gran Luchito; its deep smoky spiciness seemed to be the perfect foil for this sweet squash. Made with Oaxacan pasilla chillis which have been smoked to dry them, the sauce is sweet and addictive. I resisted temptation to use it all in a mezcal bloody mary. That's for the weekend. You can buy it here.
I won't lie, this is one spicy mother. With no sour cream to temper the flames, I made a chilli-less guacamole to try and offset the burn. It worked, for a while. The sweetness of the squash actually works really well here, balancing out the rich black beans in its tomatoey sauce. I brushed some flour tortillas with oil and grilled them until crisp to make a pretty damn fine lunch. The squash was edible, which is pretty high praise for the squash-dodger I am. You won't get me eating the root of all evil though, those cursed sweet potatoes.
Black Bean & Butternut Squash Chilli
1 tetra pack of black beans in water (I used Sainsburys Organic)
Half a butter nut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 chipotle in adobo, or a chipotle chilli rehydrated in hot water and minced
1 rib of celery
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp Gran Luchito smoked chilli tapenade (or substitute for another chipotle, and a tsp sugar)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can of peeled plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Dice the onion, celery and carrot. Mince the garlic. Fry them in a little oil in a saucepan, then add the chillis & sauce until the onion has softened and then add the cumin. Add the black beans with their water, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the butternut squash chunks, then add the tomatoes.
Add the salt and sugar and then simmer gently for 35 - 40 minutes. Stir occasionally - if it's looking a little dry pop the lid on and lower the heat some more.
Serve with rice or tortillas as described above, with guacamole.