A few years ago, while in Puerto Rico filming a TV pilot, I had the opportunity to join a few local surfers at their home for Sunday afternoon dinner. We cooked together and they introduced me to their way of cooking Habichuelas (stewed beans) which has stuck with me ever since….it is traditional to put diced calabaza squash or pumpkin in with the beans when they cook them (often I use butternut squash instead). If you have never tried this you must! The pumpkin (or squash) adds a little burst of sweetness and extra depth of flavor thats ah-mazing!! My son has named this version Puerto Rican Chili…it’s made with Chicken chorizo sausage, onions, garlic, cilantro, butternut squash, pink beans and a little tomato sauce.
Puerto Rican Chili
If you have never tried this you must! The pumpkin (or squash) adds a little burst of sweetness and extra depth of flavor thats ah-mazing!! My son has named this version Puerto Rican Chili...it's made with Chicken chorizo sausage, onions, garlic, cilantro, butternut squash, pink beans and a little tomato sauce.
- 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 1 cup diced sweet onion
- 3 large cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup water
- 4 links fully cooked chicken sausage such as Aidelles or Al Fresco
- 2 cups butternut squash or pumpkin peeled and cubed*
- 1 28oz can pink beans
- 1 ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ - ½ tsp chipotle chili powder optional
- ½ cup cilantro leaves plus extra for serving
1.Using a deep stock pot, heat the oil and the onion. Stir frequently to avoid burning. The onions will become translucent and it will begin to smell good, this process should take about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and water, continue to cook for a few minutes longer being careful not to let the garlic brown or burn.
Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble into chunks with your hands, add to the onions.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir to mix. Let it simmer at medium heat for 5 minutes. If, there is not enough liquid, add water little by little until there is enough to just cover everything.
4.Lower the heat to Low (do not cover), and let it simmer until the squash /pumpkin is tender and the sauce thickens (about 45 minutes). If the sauce does not thicken enough, simmer longer.
Taste and adjust the salt and heat to taste.
Garnish with chopped cilantro, avocado and any other chili toppings you like such as sour cream, onions and shredded cheddar.
*cut the squash into small cubes, about twice the size of the beans