Veg-head Chili

This chili is bursting with end-of-summer veggie goodness. Butternut squash, carrots, onions, and peppers abound. And we added three beans to boot! We like to add the beans and roasted poblano peppers at the end of cooking so that they don't dissolve during the cooking process.
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Veg-head Chili
makes a boat-load

3 T olive oil
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
3 jalapeno peppers, minced

salt (1 tsp -- or to taste)
2 T cocoa powder
1 T chili powder
1 tsp chipotle powder
2 tsp aleppo pepper
1 T Mexican oregano
2 tsp cumin (or more, to taste)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 small cans tomato paste
12 oz beer (preferably a dark beer like stout)
~64 oz pureed roasted tomatoes
3 cups cubed butternut squash

4 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, and diced
3 14.5 oz cans beans, rinsed and drained (your choice -- we used black, kidney, and white beans)

Heat olive oil in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, jalapeno pepper, and carrots. Saute until just beginning to soften. Add a bit of salt at this point, if you like (I like). Add spices (and cocoa powder). Stir to combine. Allow the vegetable/spice mixture to remain on the heat for a few moments until the fragrance of the spices wafts up into your nose.

Add tomato paste. Stir and allow to cook for a moment or two. Add beer to tomato mixture. Watch it bubble and foam; then, incorporate it into the mix. Allow to cook until most of the alcohol smell has cooked off.

At this point, add tomato puree, and mix everything together into a delightful melange. When the mixture comes to a boil, add the diced squash. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

Add beans and poblano to chili. Stir and allow to heat through.

Serve with Monterey Jack cheese and sour cream, if desired.

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