This post was originally published here on December 12, 2013. I’ve since updated the photographs and text. I hope you try it out!
Talking about the weather always makes me feel old. Because it just seems like something that older people love to do. But jeez, we’ve had some wild weather here in New England this month. And I can’t help but talk about it.
This January, we’ve experienced some of the most extreme weather I’ve seen in a long time. First, there was the bomb cyclone/blizzard, which buried us in snow and resulted in major coastal flooding and power outages across the region. Then we had a stretch of frigid temperatures, with the thermometer barely reaching above zero degrees for almost a whole week. And then magically, it was 50-60 degrees. And rainy. Like really rainy. Cue more coastal flooding. And now, we’re back to living in the frozen tundra.
That’s a lot of weather for two weeks. And frankly, I feel exhausted by the whole situation.
The only thing I seem to be able to do to soothe myself is to make an endless supply of comfort food.
This White Bean Chili with Chicken and Sweet Potatoes has been a go-to Winter recipe of mine for many years now. I just love how quick and easy it is to make (it only takes about 40 minutes from start to finish). But it tastes like it’s been simmering for hours. I use one of those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store (a favorite kitchen shortcut of mine, especially for soups), because the meat is always so tender and delicious. And then I load up the pot with fresh ginger, garlic, jalapeño peppers, cilantro and other spices for a major flavor explosion. Two cans of white beans, and a couple of sweet potatoes, make this chili stick-to-your-ribs good.
It’s the perfect recipe for when you’re experiencing some extreme weather. Or, you know, for when you’re experiencing some extreme hunger pangs. Either way, I guarantee it will fill up your belly with warm, comforting deliciousness.
As it’s written, the recipe for this White Bean Chili with Chicken and Sweet Potatoes is both dairy free and gluten free. But a sprinkle of cheese on top, or a slice of crusty bread on the side, is a good idea, if you’re able to tolerate those things.
Recipe slightly adapted from Gluten Free Goddess
I like to consider myself to be a bit of a squash connoisseur. Or maybe even a squash whisperer, if you will.
But recently, I realized there was one squash missing from my repertoire: red kuri squash.
I’ve passed these bright, red-skinned beauties at the market many times. They were certainly enticing enough based on their color, shape and size alone. And I knew from my readings that their flesh was rich and creamy with a mellow sweet and nutty flavor. Yet I would always reach for my more familiar standbys: butternut and delicata squash. But then a few weeks ago, I decided on a whim to toss one into my shopping cart. And now I don’t think I’ll ever look back. Red kuri squash is taking up a permanent residency in my kitchen!
I decided to make a puréed soup, so I took some direction from one of my favorite butternut squash soup recipes and finally landed on this version of Red Kuri Squash and Fennel Soup with Savory Granola.
I started by roasting the red kuri squash, using my friend Traci’s instructions for roasting whole pumpkins (which I also did earlier this Fall to make these pumpkin chocolate puddings), then I scrapped out the softened flesh and combined it in a large stockpot with fennel, apple, shallots, garlic and vegetable broth. After puréeing the soup, I added a touch of heavy cream to make it extra smooth and luxurious. But you could certainly skip this ingredient all together. Or try using coconut cream instead, if you prefer.
I dressed this soup up with a few microgreens for extra color. And a nutty, savory granola for major crunch. Because I firmly believe that puréed soups should never be served naked.
Savory granola is something that I’ve been wanting to play with for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally took the plunge and tried out a couple recipes (today’s recipe is adapted from this one I found on Bon Appetit). I’m finding lots of ways to use it, including salads and breakfast bowls. I think once you try it, you’ll be hooked, too!
I’m sharing the recipe for this Red Kuri Squash and Fennel Soup with Savory Granola as part of our monthly seasonal eating initiative organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. Becky has lots of recipe suggestions for December, which you can find here in her December produce guide. And you can also have a peak at the recipes linked up below to see what some of my other blogging friends have created for this month. I hope you find some inspiration for your Holiday gatherings!
December Eat Seasonal Recipes
Beet & Pomegranate Green Smoothie by JoyFoodSunshine
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette by Flavor the Moments
Mini Fruitcakes by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Garlic and Herb Twice Baked Baby Potatoes by She Likes Food
Roasted Butternut Squash and Grape Crostini by Vintage Mixer