Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

It’s not really time for stew. It’s late August, so for a Texan like me, that still means at least 3-4 weeks of hot temperatures to go. The stars were aligned for us last night, however, and a cold front blew in. The high temp yesterday? 80 degrees. It was 107 on Monday. That makes 80 degrees practically feel like sweater weather in comparison! Nearly every day in August has been over 100 degrees here, so we were a touch giddy.

Armed with fresh butternut squash from a local farm, and a desire to make a frugal, simple meal, I set off to make a stew. I cooked beans in the slow cooker while I was away at work, and when I came home, I was able to assemble this dish and have dinner in under 45 minutes. Not bad. If one was in a real hurry and bought frozen, cubed butternut squash, I imagine you could cut that time down to 15 minutes. For me, I prefer fresh – especially when it’s in season!

This stew is a lovely, spicy-sweet blend of flavors and textures. I forced myself to stop after a huge bowlful, but I could have easily had seconds or thirds, in spite of how filling it was. I brought a sample to a coworker for a taste; she loved it. Sounds like a win to me! 

I measured amounts in this recipe, but you can certainly alter as you see fit. Feel free to use canned beans if that’s your desire. Increase or decrease the jalapenos or chipotle chili powder to suit your heat tolerance. It was relatively spicy when I made it, so if you can’t handle a lot of heat, you might want to only use 1 jalapeno. If you don’t have smoked meat, a bit of cooked, crumbled bacon or salt pork might do nicely, or you could simply omit the meat altogether, and add a touch of smoked paprika. That’s what I love about stews – there really isn’t a “wrong” way to go!

Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

2 T grapeseed oil

1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 c butternut squash, diced in half-inch cubes

3 c cooked black beans (about 2 15-oz cans)

2 c shredded, smoked pork or chicken

1 ½ T ground cumin

½ t ground chipotle chile powder

1 t sweet paprika

3 c chicken stock

Salt to taste

Optional accompaniments:

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped cilantro

In a large, heavy pot, heat grapeseed oil to medium heat. Add onion and jalapenos and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add butternut squash and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add beans, pork, cumin, chipotle chili powder, and stock and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt. Allow to simmer until butternut squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve  topped with tomatoes and cilantro.

Serves 4.

Comments

  1. says

    I love the way you used butternut squash here, what a fantastic meal for fall! So healthy too. I’m ready for a bowl of this and one of those scones from one of your earlier posts :D.

  2. says

    You had me at butternut. I have two huge squash sitting on my dining room table, and I think one will find its way into this stew over the weekend. I can’t wait!

  3. says

    All I can say is that this stew sounds amazing! I make one with similar ingredients, but instead of the butternut squash, I use sweet potatoes. And instead of the shredded chicken or pork, I use half sweet and half Hot Italian Sausage. Your version sounds phenomenal though and I cannot wait to give it a try.
    And I totally hear you about soup weather. We are in AZ and it is a steady 100 right now. Blek. I am looking forward to some jeans and sweater weather!

  4. says

    This stew looks fantastic! We’re getting temps in the 50’s at night here so I’m definitely gearing up for stew and soup season.

  5. says

    Thanks for including the option of using chicken, the combination of flavors is exactly what I like. This is going to make a great fall meal.

  6. Sarah Craighead Dedmon says

    That looks amazing. I’m the same way about ushering in Autumn. I bought a spicy fall candle two weeks ago just to keep the hope alive that this nutty summer would cool down soon. Probably between your stew and my candle we inched it closer by a few days.

    I’m going to try this next week!

  7. says

    Hah! Temperature is so relative, isn’t it? A while back I tweeted that I was dying while visiting Columbus, OH — it was 94 and humid. A guy from Texas tweeted back that 94 would be a cold front to him. ;)

  8. says

    What a great recipe! All my dinner guests love it.. a variation I’ve tried is to add 3 whole cloves after the onions, seems to compliment the smoked pork flavour in the end. I’m making some now, on New Years day!

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