I was able to find Sweet Dumpling squash at my local grocer and you could likely find them at your farmers' market as well. Otherwise, I'm sure any small squash would work.
I had never made Sweet Dumpling squash before and the taste and texture reminded me very much of Acorn squash. Scooping out bits of squash made the chili even tastier!
We did have a light frost this past week and most of the tender annuals are gone but I still have a few blooms hanging on. I'm sharing this mosaic and recipe at Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper and Mosaic Monday at Little Red House.
Black Bean Chili in Squash Bowls
Recipe adapted from The Philadelphia Inquirer
Makes 4 servings
4 small sweet dumpling or other small winter squash
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon dried coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1-1/2 cups cooked black beans (I used one can, rinsed well)
1 teaspoon Chipotle chili in Adobo, canned or dried
1/2 stalk celery, minced
1/2 roasted red pepper, skinned, seeded, and minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
3 plum tomatoes, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
3 leaves fresh basil, minced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Pierce each squash with a knife and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cook for about 20 minutes or until just a bit softened. Remove from oven and let cool until not too hot to handle. Cut off the top (stem end) of each squash and reserve. Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh very carefully - taking extra care not to cut into the bottom of the squash. You can save seeds for roasting, if desired. Season the flesh of each squash with a bit of salt and pepper. Return the squash, cut side down, to baking sheet and continue to cook until it softens and the edges are browned. They must be cooked through, but should still retain their shape and structure.
2. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in the bottom of a large sauté pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the onion is softened and browning. Add the cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds and cook a few minutes more to toast the spices slightly. Add the beans, chipotle, celery, thyme, and tomatoes and simmer for ½ hour to 45 minutes, adding as much water or stock as needed to keep from sticking. Stir often. Beans can be more or less soupy, as desired. Season well with salt and fresh pepper. Stir in basil before serving.
3. To serve, cut just a thin slice off the bottom of each squash to allow it to sit on the plate securely. Place squash on platter or individual plates. Fill with warm beans. Set the lid askew or alongside as garnish if desired. Top with chopped avocado.