Autumn chili

I was inspired by a recipe in the London Times. My version has more red wine, uses butternut squash and white beans instead of kidney beans and I added a tin of beef consommé to make it really deep and rich. This is the kind of food you should be eating at this time of year, when you are caught on a dark afternoon walk home without a coat and you realize the weather really has turned. This stew will warm you up!


1 lb lean ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 large onions, chopped finely
4 stalks celery, chopped finely
3 carrots, chopped finely
1 medium butternut squash cut into 1 cm pieces
2 large tins chopped tomatoes
1 small tin beef consomme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely chopped dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
1/2 bottle red wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tins white beans


  1. Add the oil, onions, celery and carrots to a large saucepan and cook until the onions turn translucent.
  2. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cumin, chili powder, rosemary, bay leaves and beef and cook until the meat is browned and starting to catch on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the red wine and beef consommé and allow to reduce until the liquid is reduced by over half.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, bring the boil, then simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally, so the bottom doesn’t burn.
  6. At this point, the liquid should be reduced, but still plentiful. Add the butternut squash and cook for a further 20 mins, on high heat, so it is bubbling away and reduces further as the squash cooks.
  7. Now check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper and more cumin and chili if required.
  8. Add the white beans, cook for a further three minutes to warm them through and serve with rice or crusty white bread.


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