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2.20.2012

Butternut, Black Bean, and Turkey Chili

What's your Sunday like?


Are you the kind of person who uses the day to relax before the week ahead?  Do you wake up Monday morning feeling fresh and ready to dive head first into your week?

You do?  I'm jealous.  My Monday involves coffee.  My Monday involves "Party Rocker Anthem" played on repeat Dwight Schrute-style in the parking lot outside my office building.

See, for me, Sunday has a lot of potential.  It's got great bone structure.  All of the pieces are in the right metaphorical places, but over time, my Sunday has become less about recharging my batteries and reflecting on the past week, and more about bracing for the week ahead.  By 5pm on Sunday evening, I've got the next five hectic days in mind, and my brain is already scrambled.

I know, what a way to live.  Don't worry!  I have a great life.

So, in an effort to uncover why Sundays even exist, and to take a more glass-half-full approach when it comes to the latter half of the weekend, here're a few things about Sunday that I have come to accept:

Sunday is the perfect day for wanting to get a head start on birthday present shopping, only to determine at the mall that these upcoming birthdays are not, in fact, close enough to create feelings of birthday present purchasing urgency.  I work best under pressure.  If nothing else, Sunday, you reaffirm my personality, and give me an excuse to buy more shoes.

Sunday is the perfect afternoon to catch up with an old and true friend, and for all of the free-flowing gossip, advice, excitement, planning, and love that gets created in a little booth over an arguably-unwise two cups of coffee.  Sunday, you nurture my friendships, and if nothing else, you remind me that caffeine after 3pm is a poor life choice.

Sunday is the perfect evening for an 8pm work presentation given to a clinical study site in Taiwan, where it's 9am Monday morning.  Lie.  Sundays aren't good for that at all.  (And also, just so you know, the people in Taiwan can't tell you what happens in the future.  That's not how time zones work, apparently.  Counter-intuitive, right?)  Sunday, if nothing else, you fill up my DVR with a plethora of TV options for the week.

And finally, Sundays are the perfect excuse to make a big vat of something tasty, like this butternut squash, black bean, and turkey chili, and to enjoy it on the couch in front of Teen Mom 60 Minutes with a few slices of whole-grain bread.  Who needs a spoon when you can use crusty bread as your chili shovel?  Sunday, if nothing else, you give me an excuse for a full-on, pre-Monday dinner feast.

This recipe is a delicious and healthy version of a hearty, Sunday-night chili, and it's a cinch to pull together.  It easily serves 4 people, but you can certainly devour the entire thing with your husband, like I did.

Full disclosure:  My Monday still involved coffee and a little LMFAO, but I think it's gonna be a good day!

Butternut, Black Bean, and Turkey Chili
Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
6 oz. turkey sausage, casings removed
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, any color, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt/pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
3 c butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 c low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes with their juices
1-15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

Preparation:
Set a large dutch oven or soup pot coated with cooking spray over medium heat.  Add the turkey sausage and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring to crumble, until cooked through.  Remove from the pot and set aside.

Add the olive oil to the pot and return to medium heat.  Add the onions, and saute until soft, about 7 minutes, stirring frequently.


Add the bell pepper, garlic, salt/pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, bay leaves, and oregano, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add a tsp of water to the pot if things start to stick.


Add the squash and chicken broth, bring to a boil, and then simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until the squash is just tender.


Add the tomatoes, black beans, and reserved turkey sausage, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, until the soup is thickened slightly.


Using an immersion blender, puree about 1/4 of the soup so that it thickens.  Alternatively, you could remove 2 cups of the soup and puree in a blender or food processor, and then add back to the soup.


Serve with hot sauce and crusty bread.


2 comments:

Meredith said...

I like the part about catching up with an old friend on Sunday afternoons ;) and I completely agree that coffee after 3 pm is unwise - I was up all night on Sunday:)!!

Joanne said...

Not gonna lie, your sundays sound shockingly like my sundays. Except instead of shoes...i buy cookbooks. It's a problem. Kind of. Depending on who you ask.

I really need to be better about cooking larger meals on Sunday for the week. This chili sounds mega delish! Love that it has bnut squash in it!

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