A few weeks ago I went on a camping trip with some friends at Tumbleweed Farm in Parkdale, Oregon. We cooked a ton of delicious food, including this butternut squash chili and some pumpkin pancakes, soaked up the beautiful autumn weather. Later in the weekend, Christiann made a spiced mulled cider and I put together an autumn chili, full of butternut squash, pork sausage, beans, chili flakes, and turmeric. It was smokey from the campfire, rich from the pork sausage, and slightly spicy. We topped it off with a bit of toasted pumpkin seeds for a nice contrasting texture, too, and it was so good I ended up making it back at home again with one of the Greek winter squash from my garden. So there we were, wrapped up in our cozy Schoolhouse Electric blankets around the fire, drinking and eating until the sun went down.
Going back through these photos is making me miss fall so much, especially since all the trees are bare now and everything looks pretty dark and dreary outside. I wish it was possible to trade a month of winter for an extra month of fall, but time just doesn’t work that way. You can’t grab onto a flowing river. That’s something I’ve been realizing more and more lately, how quickly time goes by. I think it’s made worse by how busy I’ve been this year (see: not getting my autumn post up until winter), it seems like the more I pack into one day the more quickly it passes me by. Warm memories like these are a stake in the river, though; they always take you back to that place, that moment, and let it wash over you. So even though the days are short and dark and everything in my garden looks blackened and dead, I can still look back through these photos and remember brighter, more colorful days and good food shared with friends.
Butternut Squash Chili
- 1 pound pork sausage
- 2 pounds butternut squash cubed
- 32 ounces vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon arbor chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 cans cannellini beans rinsed
- 1 can kidney beans rinsed
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Remove half the pork sausage from their casings and set them aside. Cook the remaining whole sausage links in a cast iron pan over a small campfire, or on the stovetop at medium heat, until the skin is crispy and the sausage is cooked through. Remove, allow to cool, and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Set aside.
- Place the ground sausage in the pan and sauté over the fire until nearly cooked through, stirring every minute. Add the squash, vegetable stock, tomato paste, salt, cumin, chili flakes, chili powder, and turmeric and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cover. Allow to cook for 15 minutes covered, then remove the lid and allow to simmer for another 30 minutes, adding the rinsed beans and sliced cooked sausage during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before sprinkling with the toasted pumpkin seeds and serving.