I totally stole this fantastic chili recipe straight from Sunny Anderson of Food Network’s, The Kitchen. I watched her make it one Saturday morning and it looked so delicious I ran out to get the ingredients. (yes, seriously) My take is only slightly different than hers, as I use a much leaner ground beef.

The flavors are so warm and spicy and the addition of the butternut squash is genius. It has since become my go-to chili recipe after the family declared it the best chili I ever made. Thanks Sunny!

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound beef chuck or stewing meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated on rasp or finely minced
  • 1 pound ground chuck (80% lean)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine (any inexpensive Chianti)
  • 2 tablespoons fine cornmeal
  • One 1 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubesIn a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, oregano, pumpkin pie spice, 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of black pepper.In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, beef cubes and half of the seasoning. Cook until the beef is browned on all sides but not cooked through, about 7 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the onions, bell peppers, tomato paste, hot sauce and garlic. Stir and cook until everything turns a dark reddish brown, about 10 minutes. Add the ground chuck and sprinkle over the remaining seasoning. Stir and cook until the beef is browned, and then add the reserved beef chunks back to the pot along with the stock, wine, cornmeal and squash. Raise the heat until it comes to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, 40 to 45 minutes (takes longer). Uncover and let the chili cook until it is thick and the liquid is reduced, another 15 minutes.