Squash Bowl Chili w/ Avocado 'Sour Cream' & Caramelized Onions

Squash Bowl Chili w/ Avocado 'Sour Cream' & Caramelized Onions

The secret to good chili, as with stew, is to brown all the ingredients thoroughly before adding them to the chili. The flavor comes from the skillet, not the stock pot. This chili recipe is simple, yet rich and flavorful, without being particularly spicey. It can be made hotter by adding more chili peppers (e.g., try blending 1 fresh habanero pepper into the stock before you start).

3 cups brown stock
4 lbs ground beef
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
2 large yellow onions, medium dice
6-8 cloves garlic, fine dice

2 Tbl fresh oregano
2 Tbl freshly ground cumin (buy whole cumin seeds and grind it yourself)
2 Tbl ancho chili powder
1 Tbl chipotle
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
arrowroot (optional)

2 avocados
1 lime
1 tsp fresh cilantro, minced

1 medium yellow onion, julienne
2 Tbl brown stock (or white wine)

2 whole spaghetti squash

fresh cilantro, for garnish
hungarian paprika, for garnish

To make the chili: Start the stock simmering in a large stock pot and add the bay leaf. In a skillet, brown the beef in small batches. When each batch is done, pour off the fat and reserve it. Transfer the meat to the stock pot, then use about a quarter cup of the stock to deglaze the skillet, returning the liquid back to the chili. Repeat this procedure until all the meat is browned. Brown the onion and then garlic in the reserved beef fat, and add them to the chili. Repeat the process for deglazing the skillet. Brown the red bell pepper in the reserved beef fat, and add it to the chili. Repeat the process for deglazing the skillet. Add all seasonings and simmer for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to marry. Thicken with arrowroot if desired.

To make the avocado sour cream: Juice the lime, and combine lime juice with avocado and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste, and gently whisk to a creamy consistency.

To make the caramelized onions: Combine onion and stock in a medium skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the onions are very soft and a light caramel brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

To make the squash: Slice squash in half lengthwise. Microwave on high for 10 minutes or until the squash is softened. Remove seeds. Transfer to a sheet pan, face up, and broil at 500 degress until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Set each squash half on a plate. Fill squash with chili, layer caramelized onions over top, and add a dollop with avocado sour cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro and hungarian paprika.

By Bruce Sherrod. Posted to the PaleoRecipe Mailing List, Sept. 2001
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Desislava Vasileva / 123RF Stock Photo 12861342