Before I start getting angry hate mail from Texans calling for me to jump off a bridge, let's get something straight: I know this might not actually be chili. Most (i.e.- all) people from Texas pretty much agree that this is chili:
Chilies + Spices (oregano, cumin, garlic) + Meat (beef) + Tomatoes = Chili
You will notice that there are no beans. While I am not about to find out, I imagine serving chili with beans to a Texan is akin to slapping a lion across the face just to see how it will react. But who cares? I live in Maryland. I put beans in my chili. I'm all for the 'when in Rome' attitude if I was sitting in a restaurant in Houston. In that case, I would happily forgo expectations of having a single bean in my chili. Until then, I'm gonna make it how I want to. And this time, I decided to challenge myself to leave out that other chili staple: the tomato.
2 yellow summer squash, chopped
2 acorn squash, sliced in half lengthwise and seeded
1 large onion, chopped
1 cubanelle pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 small eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise
1 small can green chilies
15 oz. black beans, cooked
15 oz. hominy, cooked
3 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cumin, freshly ground
2 tbsp smoked paprika
3/4 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp oregano
1/4 cup cilantro, washed and minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 jalapeno, finely diced
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Coat the cut sides of the acorn squash and eggplant with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast squash until it is cooked through. Roast eggplant until it is practically collapsing on itself. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over a medium flame with the cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Add onion, cubanelle pepper, orange bell pepper, yellow squash, oregano, and garlic. Cook until tender, without burning the garlic.
In a large bowl, scoop out eggplant from it's skin and mash with a fork until it is a smooth paste. Do the same with one of the acorn squash. Stir in green chilies, black beans, hominy, and cilantro and add to the pot. Add 1 cup of water and simmer for 15 minutes.
Peel the remaining acorn squash and cut into 1" to 1.5" cubes. Gently fold cubes into the pot, trying not to break them up. Add some hot sauce if you like as well. Taste for salt and pepper.
I like this simple garnish on my chili. It is a slightly lazier version of the garnish on enchiladas de plaza from Diana Kennedy, the best thing to happen to Mexican cuisine since chocolate.
In a small sauce pan, bring water and apple cider vinegar to a boil. Add finely diced jalapeno (as well as radish, carrot or even potato if you would like), cover, and turn off the heat. Remove from the water after five minutes and you will have the perfect little jalapeno pickle to put atop some rich sour cream. Serve hot.