I have a mighty fine selection of spices, if I may say so myself. A huge thank you goes to my last trip to Penzeys, and also to Bestwin which has a multitude of cheap ethnic spices. Fresh spices make a huge difference when cooking. Spices don’t keep long, which is why I only buy the spices I need. I make my own garam masala and now I will show you how to make your own chili powder. For the spice-sissies like me, this is yet another way to flavour the heat levels to your own liking.
There are many recipes for chili powder, but I went with a flavourful blend with smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, oregano and garlic powder. You can add as much real chili your taste buds will desire, but I stayed with my flavourful (not hot) Aleppo chili flakes from the base recipe. The deconstructed recipe has been incorporated into the chili recipe below. Definitely play with the flavours until you get something you like.
This is a Hallowe’en themed chili, filled with all things black and orange, adapted from Party Vegan (recipe also posted here). Of course, I couldn’t just do a simple, traditional chili. This one is filled with butternut squash and the secret oomph comes from the apple juice. Its sweetness allows you to dial up the heat higher than you might otherwise. Personally, I thought it was great. Different than the ordinary, and the squash worked well with the black beans.
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili
1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes (or more if you want it hotter – this is tame)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 1/2 cups cooked or 3 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup apple juice (I used 300 mL)
4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
3 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Cut the squash into 1/4-inch dice and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, chili flakes, squash, carrot, and bell pepper, if using. Cover and cook, until softened, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans. Stir in the apple juice, paprika, cumin, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, allspice, sugar, and salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Uncover and simmer about 10 minutes longer. Serve hot.