Mushroom Tacos with Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce

More tacos to share! I served these full-flavored vegetarian tacos for our Cinco de Mayo celebration this year- with margaritas, chips, and guacamole, of course.

The recipe was adapted from The Essential Mexican Instant Pot Cookbook: Authentic Flavors and Modern Recipes for your Electric Pressure Cooker by Deborah Schneider. I used a stove top pressure cooker instead of an instant pot, but this filling could be prepared just as easily without using a pressure cooker at all. The creamy avocado sauce was amazing!

The original recipe is for “quesotacos” which the author describes as black-belt street cooking, made by browning a layer of cheese right on a griddle, scooping it up with a tortilla, and using that to wrap the filling. I opted to serve the filling over the shredded cheese in a traditional taco form. This wonderful filling is also used in enchiladas in this book. Yum!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6, with about 1 cup of Avocado-Tomatillo sauce

For the Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce:

  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
  • 2 tomatillos, husked and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced white onion
  • 1/2 serrano chile, stemmed (and seeded, if desired)
  • 1 T water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • leaves from 2 sprigs cilantro, chopped (about 1 T)

For the Mushroom Tacos:

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1-inch dice (2 cups) (I reserved 1/4 cup of the onion for the sauce)
  • 9 garlic cloves, minced (3 T)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 to 10 oz cremini mushroom, sliced or cut into quarters
  • 8 to 10 oz white button mushrooms, sliced or cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or shredded fresh epazote
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 12 corn or corn-wheat tortillas
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese or grated Cojita cheese
  • Avocado-Tomatillo sauce, for serving
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

To Make the Sauce:

  1. In a food processor, combine the avocado, tomatillos, onion, Serrano Chile, water, and salt.
  2. Pulse until fairly smooth, about 10 pulses, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the cilantro and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  4. Transfer to a bowl, then taste and adjust seasoning with salt if needed.

Note: The Sauce will keep well for 24 hours, covered and refrigerated.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Place poblano chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. Broil the poblano chiles in the oven, rotating every 5 to 7 minutes, until charred and blistered on all sides. (I set my oven to Broil Max at 450F.)
  3. Wrap the chiles in the foil lining, to loosen the charred skin with steam.
  4. When cool enough to handle, peel, seed and dice the roasted chiles.
  5. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, instant pot, or dutch oven.
  6. Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.
  8. Add the water, salt, portobello mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and white mushrooms, then stir in the cilantro/epazote.
  9. If using a pressure cooker or instant pot, secure the lip and cook on high for 1 minute. (Alternatively, cook the mixture in a Dutch oven until mushrooms have released a significant amount of moisture and are lightly browned.)
  10. Use the quick pressure release. (I rotate the valve into a perpendicular position on the top of my pressure cooker.)
  11. Set a colander in a bowl. Pour the mushroom mixture into the colander, reserving the liquid in the bowl.
  12. Set the colander aside and return the liquid to the pot.
  13. Bring the liquid to a boil, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until syrupy and very thick.
  14. Return the mushroom mixture to the pot and stir in the black pepper, pepper flakes, and roasted and diced poblano chiles.
  15. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, until heated through.
  16. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired.
  17. Serve the mushroom filling in warm tortillas over shredded Monterey Jack and crumbled feta. Top with sauce, minced cilantro, and extra cheese, as desired.

For “Quesotacos”:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly oil, place a tortilla in the pan and toast for about 3 minutes, until golden brown. Turn the tortilla and top with 2 T of Jack cheese and 1 T of feta/Cojita. Continue toasting until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes more. Top with mushroom mixture, sauce, sprinkle of cheese, and pinch of cilantro. Serve immediately.

For a Grilled Corn & Mushroom Variation: Add kernels from 2 ears of grilled corn to the pot after adding the roasted poblano chiles.

Spicy Roasted Poblano & Potato Chowder with Maple & Browned Butter Skillet Cornbread

When it snows on the first day of spring, you have to seize the opportunity to make one last cozy soup- at least in my house. 🙂

On a recent family trip to Newport, Rhode Island, we ate a lot of delicious chowder. Sometimes twice in one day! :/ This inspired the choice to make a chowder during our last (hopefully our last) snowstorm of the season.

This recipe was adapted from Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match by Ivy Manning. I modified the method and proportions, and added a cilantro garnish. I really liked the soup and quick bread pairings in this book.

For the Chowder:

  • 5 medium or large poblano chiles
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 large yellow onions, finely chopped in a food processor
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, minced in a food processor
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, about 7 medium, peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick with a mandolin
  • 4 1/2 T masa harina or fine cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese, for garnish
  • minced cilantro, for garnish
  1. Adjust the oven rack so that it is 6 inches (15 cm) below the heating element and preheat the broiler.
  2. Place the poblanos on a small, heavy baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  3. Broil the chiles, turning with tongs halfway through cooking, until the skins are blackened all over, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven. Fold and seal the aluminum foil together and let cool. (This helps the charred skin steam off.)
  5. Melt the butter in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  6. Add the onion and celery and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic and oregano and sauté until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
  8. Add the broth and potatoes, cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering while you prep the chiles.
  9. Remove the chiles from the foil pouch. Discard the stems and seeds. Peel off and discard the blackened skins.
  10. Chop the chiles and add them to the soup pot.
  11. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, unit the potatoes are fall-apart tender, about 25 minutes.
  12. Place the masa in a medium bowl and gradually whisk in the cream.
  13. Add the mixture to the soup and cook, uncovered, until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  14. Season with salt and pepper.
  15. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the grated cheese and minced cilantro. Serve immediately.

Note: The cooled soup (without cheese) can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator overnight and reheat very gently.

For the Skillet Cornbread:

  • 6 T (85 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (140 g) cornmeal
  • 1 cup (140 g) white whole wheat flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) sour cream or plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 T pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. While the oven is preheating, place the butter in a 12-inch (30.5 cm) cast iron skillet and place the skillet into the oven. Heat the pan until the butter is melted and browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, maple syrup, and eggs.
  5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and scrape the melted butter from the skillet into the batter.
  6. Mix with a wooden spoon until just blended. Do not overmix.
  7. Scrape the batter into the skillet and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 14 to 15 minutes.
  9. Let bread cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Cut the cornbread into wedges or pieces, as desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: This moist cornbread freezes well. Stack the cooled wedges, wrap them in foil, and freeze in a ziplock plastic bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, arrange the bread in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake in a 350 degree oven until heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes.

One Year Ago: Butternut Squash Bread Soup

Two Years Ago: White Bean Soup with Bacon & Herbs

Three Years Ago: Slow Cooker Pork Tinga Tacos

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago: Hungarian Lentil Stew and Spicy Lentil Chili

Easy Taco Skillet Dinner

I love a quick skillet dinner- especially on a weeknight. This delicious family friendly meal is from my friend Mollie @Frugal Hausfrau. I have made it a couple of times, most recently for our Super Bowl celebration. Our meal has to complement the mandatory Super Bowl guacamole. 🙂

Even though it could be served as is straight from the skillet, we ate it in both soft and hard shell tacos. (The hard shells won as the favorite, by the way.) I think that eating it as a pre-mixed taco filling made it even more of a crowd-pleaser. I modified the recipe by using ground turkey and by increasing the beans, onions, and garlic. Great!

Yield: Serves 8

  • 1.25 pounds ground turkey or ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Sriracha
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes (I used Trader Joe’s fire roasted diced tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup salsa (I used Trader Joe’s garlic chipotle salsa)
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup white Basmati rice
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • hard or soft taco shells, for serving, if desired
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions, for garnish, as desired
  • sliced avocado, for garnish, as desired
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish, as desired

  1. In a large skillet with a lid, over medium high heat, add ground meat and cook, crumbling as it cooks.
  2. As soon as it starts to give up the juices, add in the onion and bell pepper, continuing to cook until the vegetables have softened and the meat is cooked through.
  3. Add the garlic, stirring for a minute or so until it becomes fragrant.
  4. Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper; briefly stir.
  5. Stir in tomatoes with the juice, salsa, black beans, and hot sauce.
  6. Toss the rice on top and add the 1 1/4 cup of water. Gently stir together, bring to a boil.
  7. Cover with lid and reduce to a bare simmer. Cook for 25 minutes until rice is just done. If possible, don’t lift the lid or stir until rice is finished.
  8. Turn off the heat. Using a spatula, gently turn the mixture from top to bottom. Add cheese to the top. Cover with lid and let sit for five minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  9. Serve in warm taco shells garnished with green onions, avocado, and/or minced cilantro, as desired.

One Year Ago:

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Five Years Ago:

Stuffed Poblano Casserole

I used to love receiving my monthly issue of Everyday Food. Page after page of tasty and quick dishes. So sad it no longer exists. 😦 Thankfully, I have my old issues! (of course 😉 )

This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I increased the garlic and onions, decreased the water, and added corn. We ate it with green salad and brown Basmati rice. Mildly spicy and light… well, for a casserole!

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole San Marzano tomatoes in puree
  • 1 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat), minced
  • 1 1/2  to 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves (3 whole, 2 minced)
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup shredded jalapeño Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed
  1. Preheat oven to 425, preferably on convection.
  2. In a blender or Vitamix, combine tomatoes in puree, jalapeño, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves; puree. Season with salt.
  3. Pour sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine beans, corn, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic (I used a garlic press), cumin, and 1/4 cup water; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Dividing evenly, stuff poblano halves with bean mixture; place on top of sauce in baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle poblanos with remaining 1/2 cup cheese; cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake until poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes.
  8. Uncover, and continue to cook until sauce is thickened slightly and cheese is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes.

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Chicken & Corn Empanadas

More Super Bowl empanadas!

I enjoy trying new recipes… BUT… Oh my, it is going to be hard not to make these for our Super Bowl feast again next year. They were really good. Slightly spicy and super-flavorful.

I made the dough the day before completing the dish but made the fillings for both types of empanadas on Super Bowl Sunday morning. Because the fillings would easily keep at least a day in the refrigerator, I think I would make the fillings in advance as well. In retrospect, rolling the dough, chilling the empanadas and then baking them seems like just enough work for the big day. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Guillermo Pernot, via Martha Stewart Living. I used frozen corn kernels and red wine instead of white. I also made homemade whole wheat empanada dough adapted from Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko. Great!

I’m bringing these to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #106 co-hosted by Steffi @Ginger and Bread and Andrea @Cooking with a Wallflower. Enjoy!

For the Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Dough:

Yield: 18 5-inch disks

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1 /2 tsp coarse salt
  • 18 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 12 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch dice
  1. Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours and salt. With your hands, toss the butter and cream cheese in the flour mixture until each piece is lightly coated.
  2. With the paddle attachment, beat on low-speed until the dough comes together and forms a loose mass around the paddle.
  3. On two large pieces of plastic wrap, divide the dough in half and then gently pat each half of the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle.
  4. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. (Note: The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months.)
  5. To Finish: On a floured work surface (or between layers of plastic wrap), roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick.
    Using a 5-inch round cutter (I placed the plastic-wrapped dough over a cutting board and cut the rounds using a bowl and sharp knife.), cut 18 rounds out of the dough, reshaping and re-rolling out the dough as necessary.

For the Chicken and Corn Filling:

Yield: about 18 empanadas

  • Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Empanada Dough, chilled (recipe above)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tsp red-pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 5 ears small corn, kernels removed or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels (thawed)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat (about 5 thighs), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons dry white or red wine
  • coarse salt
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, red-pepper flakes, and oregano.
  3. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add red and green peppers and corn. Cook until the peppers soften and any liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  5. To the same pan, add the chicken, wine, and salt. Cook until chicken is just cooked through and almost all liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  6. Refrigerate filling until chilled; stir in cheese. The filling may be prepared and refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.
  7. Mound 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling on half of the round and fold the other side over to form a half-moon. Press to seal the dough and pinch at intervals to make pleats. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling. (Alternatively, start at one end, pinch one corner between your thumb and forefinger and fold it over the rim. Pinch the dough next to the fold and fold again. Continue pinching and folding to create a decorative rope rim.) 
  8. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to baking but no longer than 1 day.
  9. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. 
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

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Three Years Ago:

Easy Enchilada Pie

My son’s third grade teacher told the class that they each needed to know three recipes by heart before going to college. What good advice! 😉 Besides a good vinaigrette, this one might make the list! 🙂 It’s an easy crowd pleaser.

This recipe is also quick… super super fast. 🙂 It initially caught my eye because it included a “2-minute” enchilada sauce (as well as a lot of ingredients from Trader Joe’s!). We were not disappointed. It was a perfect, comforting, and family friendly weeknight meal. I especially loved the sauce. This recipe was adapted from Feasting at Home. I added an additional layer of tortillas as well as cheese to the top. Now I need to teach my kids how to make it! 🙂

For the 2-Minute Enchilada Sauce:

  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)(Trader Joe’s!)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ¼-½ tsp chipotle chile powder, to taste (or add a canned chipotle pepper, smoked paprika, and/or cayenne for heat)
  • 1 ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a Vitamix (or blender) and blend until smooth.

To Complete the Enchilada Pie:

  • 2-Minute Enchilada Sauce
  • 12-14 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 2 15-oz cans seasoned black beans (like Trader Joe’s Cuban Style Black Beans)
  • 16 oz bag frozen fire roasted corn (Trader Joe’s) or other roasted vegetables
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Mexican style cheese or blend (I used Monterey Jack)
  • 4 ounce can green chilies, preferably fire roasted (Trader Joe’s)
  • cilantro, to taste as well as additional chopped cilantro for garnish
  • diced avocado, sour cream, hot sauce, as desired for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. In the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, spread out a scant amount of the enchilada sauce- just enough to lightly coat the bottom. (I used an enameled cast iron baking dish.)
  3. Spread 4-5 tortillas on top of the sauce.
  4. Drain one can of seasoned beans, and spread out over the tortillas. (Drain well!)
  5. Spread out half of the frozen roasted corn.
  6. Spread out 1 cup of the shredded cheese.
  7. Scatter ½ of the canned green chilies and a little chopped cilantro.
  8. Spread a second layer of 4-5 tortillas over the mixture.
  9. Then repeat with another can of drained seasoned beans. (cooked chicken, chorizo,or ground meat can be substituted, if desired)
  10. Top with rest of the corn, the cheese, the chilies and cilantro.
  11. Drizzle with ⅓ of the enchilada sauce and top with 4-5 more tortillas.
  12. Spread the remaining sauce over the tortillas.
  13. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  14. Uncover, top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and bake 8 to 10 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
  15. Garnish with diced avocado, and cilantro. Cut into servings and serve with sour cream and hot sauce, if desired.

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If you like this you may also like:

Vegetarian Chili with Winter Vegetables

Without knowing that I was repeating myself, I found myself saving this recipe in multiple places… a clipping from the paper, on my phone, on the computer… It was so (repeatedly) appealing to me! 🙂 I moved it to the top of my list.

This healthy chili has wonderful texture from dried pinto beans and contrasting sweet and creamy butternut squash. The use of dried beans requires extra planning but is completely worth the textural benefit in the final dish. It was mildly spicy (perfect for all palates in my house!) and tasty. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. We ate it garnished with a blend of grated Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar cheeses… mmmm…. with green salad and Brown Butter Skillet Cornbread on the side. Great!

For the Simmered Pintos:

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1 pound (about 2 1/4 cups) pinto beans, washed and picked over for stones, soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight in 2 quarts water
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 2 to 4 large garlic cloves (to taste), minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • coarse salt, to taste (at least 1 teaspoon per quart of water used)
  1. Place pre-soaked beans and (2 quarts) of soaking water in a large, heavy pot. Add halved onion and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Skim off any foam that rises, then add garlic and bay leaf, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Add salt and continue to simmer another 1 1/2 hours, until beans are quite soft and broth is thick and fragrant. Taste and adjust salt. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove and discard onion and bay leaf.
  4. For the best flavor refrigerate overnight.

Advance preparation: The cooked beans will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and freeze well.

For the Chili:

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 recipe simmered pintos (recipe above)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, cut in small dice
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons mild ground chili (or to taste: use hot, or use more) (I used standard chili powder)
  • 1 tablespoon lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup water
  • 2 cups diced winter squash (about 3/4 pound) (I used butternut)
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • grated cheddar or Monterey Jack, or crumbled queso fresco for garnish, optional (I used a blend of cheddar & Monterey Jack)
  1. Heat the beans (simmered pintos) on top of the stove in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy nonstick skillet and add the onion, carrot and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to color, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, stir together until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add the ground chili and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture begins to stick to the pan.
  4. Add the tomatoes and oregano, and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is beginning to stick to the pan, about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste dissolved in water and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt to taste and simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick and fragrant.
  6. Stir the tomato mixture into the beans. Add the winter squash and bring to a simmer.
  7. Simmer, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes. It is important to stir often so that the chili doesn’t settle and stick to the bottom of the pot. It should be thick; if you desire you can thin out with water. Taste and adjust salt.
  8. Shortly before serving stir in the cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon into bowls. If you wish, top with grated cheeses.

Advance preparation: The simmered beans can be made 3 or 4 days ahead and the chili will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. You will probably want to thin it out with water is it will continue to thicken. It freezes well.

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