Kind of a Secret: Butternut Chili Soup

Not Everyone Approves of the Secret Ingredient in My Chili 

I guess it's not really a secret ingredient when you put it's name in the recipe title. However, not everyone who eats reads the recipe.

When the weather is this bone chilling, brutally cold, the warm days of working and harvesting in the garden seem a distant memory. But when I descend into the basement and check the storage area, there is the stash of last fall's harvest, a few remaining butternut squash. Among their many attributes, a remarkably long shelf life stands out as a big positive. It's February and most are still in fine condition. 

Months after harvest, butternut squash are still in good condition.
I have been growing butternut squash for several years and I am just learning some of their secrets. For one thing they are very healthy addition to any diet with an amazing array of fiber, vitamins (especially A) and minerals. And it turns out that butternut squash are really good companions to tomatoes and beans. That's why butternut squash in my secret ingredient in chili. 

Fresh from the garden on a warmer day.

You (or someone you know) may not approve of adding squash to chili. Although the vegetable has many fans, it has its share of detractors. But don't judge too quickly! You may be surprised to 
enjoy a soup in which butternut squash play a supporting (not the lead) role. 

The easiest (and tastiest) way to prepare butternut is split it, scoop out seed
and roast in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until soft. 

My best advice would be to simply add a cup or so (not too much!) of mashed roasted squash to your favorite chili recipe. I think you'll find that it adds body to the soup and an understated savory  flavor with just a touch of sweetness that enhances the spicy seasoning. 

In my kitchen making soup is never an exercise in precision. It doesn't need to be. But I am glad to share this basic recipe that you can adapt to your family's taste.

Butternut Chili

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound lean hamburger

1 teaspoon salt

1 can (or 2 cups) beef or chicken stock

2 cans crushed tomatoes 

1-2 can (or 2 cups) pinto beans, drained 

1 cup mashed roasted butternut squash

1 tablespoon chili seasoning

1/4 cup chopped roasted peppers (anaheim, poblano or bell), optional

Roasted peppers add another layer of flavor.
Wondering how to roast peppers? Click here. . 

Saute onions in oil for a few minutes and then add hamburger, sprinkle with salt and saute until browed. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15-45 minutes. 

Enjoy! You decide whether to share about the secret ingredient.

Extra butternut squash? Make this cake. It really is very good.


  1. Bev...I will give this a try! Another friend says she uses canned pumpkin purée in her appropriate soups and chili. I’m always open to new ideas! Thank you! 🌟

  2. Great write-up, I am a big believer in commenting on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they’ve added something worthwhile to the world wide web!.. cooking


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