Archives for posts with tag: Chili


Any dish that ends “…with ginger and chili” I am predisposed to like. It’s kind of my current favorite flavor profile. I generally like heat over sweet, and there is something medicinal, healing, about the combination. When I can remember to, I like to start my mornings steeping ginger and chili in hot water, sometimes with a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon, and if I’m feeling a stuffy nose coming on, a tiny bit of honey.

So when I stumbled upon a recipe for a spicy butternut squash soup I perused the ingredient list and liked what I saw: coconut milk, fresh ginger, fresh chili, cilantro, turmeric. This was a recipe for October, for crisp weather and fending off colds. It is warmth in a bowl.

I’m in Vermont for a few days watching over a two-month-old kitten named Sam—short for Sammy Davis Jr., naturally. While born feral and therefore fearful of humans, she surprised me this morning when I woke to discover her resting peacefully on my chest. Up, down, with my breath. I picked long red chili peppers with my stepmother from her garden before she headed out of town, putting the better part of one to good use in this recipe. Now I just need to find something to do with all the Swiss chard, white eggplant, and green tomatoes we picked. In the meantime…


Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Chili
adapted from Brooklyn Vegetarian

2 tablespoons coconut oil (olive oil works well too)
1 medium onion, diced
Knob of fresh ginger, approx. 1 inch, peeled and minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh red chili pepper, minced, to taste (I used a piece 2 inches long)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley or cilantro, to garnish
Scallions, to garnish

In a large saucepan heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until it turns translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, and chili and sauté for about 1 minute, then add the cumin and turmeric. Stir, then add the carrot and celery and sauté for several minutes until they begin to soften. If the pan gets too dry you can add a spoonful or two of water, so the onions don’t stick. Add the squash, broth, and coconut milk, season with salt and pepper, and slowly bring to just before the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the squash is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Allow the soup to cool some before transferring to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, in batches if necessary. You can reheat the soup in its pan before serving if you’d like. Garnish the soup with sliced scallions and parsley or cilantro.

IMG_6475 IMG_6447

That’s right. This is supposedly the best vegetarian chili in the world. It’s adapted from a popular recipe on and I have to say, it’s mighty tasty. Shout out/apology to my cousin Bill, a chef in Texas, who might take issue with the idea that chili can even be vegetarian let alone mighty tasty.

Alright, for starters, it’s been cold here in New York the past two weeks. After tackling the carrot soup thing I wanted more stick-to-your-ribs fare but I haven’t been buying or cooking much meat. So instead of braised short ribs, beef bourguignon, or polenta with sausage ragù, I went with a chili packed with beans, veggies, spice, and all the warmth with none of the meat.

The original recipe called for an inordinate amount of jalapeños and chopped green chile peppers so I toned these down and my version still had a little kick. You could add a few dashes of tabasco to your bowl if you find it’s lacking heat. The recipe also called for such oddities as ground Boca burgers – I cut these out and increased the veggies. And of course, if possible, start with cooked dried beans instead of cans but don’t worry about it if you buy canned.

Vegetarian Chili
Adapted from
Serves 8

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chile peppers, drained
3 (28-oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 c cooked (or 1 15-oz. can) kidney beans
1 c cooked (or 1 15-oz. can) garbanzo beans
1 c cooked (or 1 15-oz. can) black beans
1 package (15-oz.) frozen whole kernel corn

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeño, garlic, and green chile peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes or so until the celery and bell peppers have softened.

Mix the tomatoes into the pot, breaking them up into smaller pieces. Season with chili powder and black pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzos, and black beans. Bring to a boil and, if there seems to be a lot of liquid, let it boil until some of the liquid evaporates, roughly 10-25 minutes. Then lower the heat and simmer for additional half hour or so. Whether you have a lid on or not depends on if or how much you want liquid to evaporate. Stir in the corn five minutes before turning off the heat.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, creme fraiche, or shredded cheese, sliced scallions, and maybe some avocado. I also served this with broccoli that had been roasted in the oven on 400 degrees for 25 minutes and tossed with olive oil and salt.

%d bloggers like this: