Fall Cinnamon Chili
It’s that time of year again, chili and crockpots are back in style. I am not going to lie, I could eat chili year round but there is something so incredibly comforting about a warm cup of chili on a chilly fall afternoon. Yes, double the chili/y, double the fun. If you want the recipe, jump on down and get cooking, otherwise hangout and find out what inspired this chili dish!
I haven’t made a chili since the end of last spring, because once it warms up I pretend like winter is never coming back. Then, once it gets closer again, I get excited for crockpots and leggings and slippers and all things cinnamon. My tastebuds were excited when two weekends ago JJ and I went to Stratton Mountain’s Harvestfest and Craft Brewfest 2015 with our friends and his family.
Post hike playing around at the summit of Stratton Mountain 🙂
We have been going to this festival for the past 4 years or so and this past year we had the BEST weather yet. After hiking to the fire tower on top of the mountain and being touristy (even though we snowboard on the mountain all season…) we headed down to the Brewfest where there were over 40 different vendors handing out samples of beer, cider, ginger beer, kombucha and more. We packed snacks of course so we could picnic on the picnic tables, enjoy some craft brews (beer from my friends and other gluten-free brews for me) and soak up the sunshine. The boys may have even participated in a keg toss…
I clearly did not get the plaid flannel memo but the sunshine made it all worth it!
During this Harvestfest, they also have a chili cook off competition that we have tried each year. You get a sampling of about 8-10 different types of chili and vote on your favorite. The first year was by far the best but we are pretty sure it was because the chilis were entered by all different people whereas now it’s just the chefs at Stratton. No offense to Stratton but I have to say a lot of the chilis this year tasted alike and only 1 (the first one we tried) was something I would eat again, and that was the winner, “Smokey Maple Madness”.
I was excited to try some of the gluten-free brews they had at the festival. The few I enjoyed were not too sweet and were very enjoyable:
- Harpoon Craft Cider (Original): They only had their apple flavor but I’ve had pumpkin before and it’s delicious and dry, not too sweet.
- Citizen Cider (Unified Press): Apples pressed in Middlebury, VT and no sugar added, yum!
- Ginger Libation: An alcoholic ginger beer, they recommend you put hot sauce in it, we tried it and it was pretty good! Just don’t put too much.
- Katalyst Kombucha: non-alcoholic but delicious! I tried both the Concord Grape and the Ginger and they were tasty.
- Champlain Orchards Cidery: McIntosh and Maple Cider was sweet but not over bearing, there was a maple flavor yet dry taste.
After that weekend, my friend Nicole and I decided it was time to do a chili cook-off. We clearly felt we had been gipped with the chili cook-off and could make chili that suited our tastebuds. Well, this cook-off ended up just being between the two of us and I’d have to say I enjoyed both. Hers was very chili-esque, smokey with a bit of heat and the right mixture of beans to meat. Mine on the other hand is a bit sweeter because of the cinnamon and a little more heavy on the meat than beans. In my eyes, our chilis crushed it and maybe one day we’ll have to enter them in some competition…someday.
Wait, back up Sass….YOU EAT BEANS?! Okay, I know some of you may not find this weird but I think some of you may be surprised. Beans can be hard for many to digest and if you are having a health condition and have not changed your diet, beans could be one of the many food items causing you distress. I had taken out beans a while back as a way to test my gut and see what I was and was not tolerating. Gluten was the trigger for me and I spent about 4-5 years fixing my gut to undo the years of pasta and bread consumption, more on that in a later post. I have been dabbling with beans for the past year or so, in the form of hummus (garbanzo beans) and black beans. I find that if they are a small part of my diet (aka once in a while), I notice no negative consequences. I think beans consumed in small portions when you have a healthy gut is a-okay, just be honest with yourself and work with a professional if you are concerned. Alright, dietitian hat off.
Here it is, my recipe! I hope you enjoy. I topped it with some raw milk cheddar cheese that we picked up while in Vermont, crumbled up bacon, and chopped green onions. Add other toppings like avocado, olives, etc. to make it your own.
- 4 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2” slices
- 2 lbs. ground meat (I used bear and venison)
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapeños, sliced in rings
- 1 cup broth (can substitute water)
- 2–14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
- 2–15 oz. cans beans, drained
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Toppings: sliced green onions, grated cheddar cheese, avocados, crumbled bacon
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until slightly crisp. Add ground meat and brown ~5 minutes.
- In a pressure cooker, add olive oil and brown onions, garlic and jalapeños for ~3 minutes. Add tomatoes, squash and spices, stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Change pressure cooker to high pressure cooking and add meat, broth and beans, stir to combine.
- Cook on high for 20 minutes. Allow pressure to be released per instructions.
- Top with favorite chili toppings.
*If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can brown the veggies and meat on the stovetop in a skillet and use a crockpot to slow cook the chili on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.
Who here likes chili? I sure do.
Let me know in the comments what your favorite ingredient in your chili is!
I encourage you all to try having a cook-off with your friends. It does not have to be chili, but it will be fun and enjoyable for everyone.
Have a great weekend everyone, stay sassy!
All the local VT loot we acquired over that weekend…