Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash - Fall Recipe

Well, hello there! It's been a hot minute, has it not? We're back with spice today, kicking off the week with a comforting recipe for fall. I'm still in Washington DC where it's a balmy 45 degrees currently but I've heard Chicago has been a gorgeous 65/70 lately. I seem to bring the cooler weather wherever I go. Poor Boston was treated to 40 degrees with rain for half of my trip. Lots has been going on behind the scenes which I can't wait to share with all of you but for now, warm up wherever you are with this tasty number.

Chili is one of those meals that are instantly comforting. It's warm, it's hearty and most of the time, it has a little kick of spice. It's basically the perfect cold-weather meal. Chili in a bowl on it's own is amazing but it's even better in a bread bowl. For those of us who like to take full advantage of seasonal produce, might I recommend chili in a squash bowl? Hear me out. 

There are a bazillion varieties of squash it seems. You can use most of them interchangeably but I prefer Acorn Squash for "bowls" because they're the perfect individual size and carve out beautifully. One half of a squash is enough for me but those with bigger appetites might require a whole squash, aka, two halves. Instead of slicing the top off like a pumpkin and scooping out the seeds, I halve the squash lengthwise and scoop them out. I feel this makes it easier to roast the squash well and eat both the chili and squash.

As for the chili, it's a pretty basic recipe. Spice, veggies, beans, meat...voila! It's tasty, delicious, comforting and simple to prepare. Most of the "labor" of this meal is done by the stove and by the oven. A small amount of chopping by you and a few quick stirs by you and that's all. Go sit down, put your feet up and enjoy Gilmore Girls before the new episodes premiere later this month. Don't tell me you haven't been binging like the rest of us because...Gilmore Girls, duh. 

2 small Acorn Squash, halved and seeds removed
5 tbsp. Olive Oil, divided
2lb. Ground Beef
14 ounces Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
14 ounces Tomato Sauce
1 Onion, diced
2 Jalapenos, seeds removed and diced
2 tbsp Chili Powder
1 tbsp. Cumin
1 tbsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the flesh of each squash half with a tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until fork tender.

2. Meanwhile, pour remaining olive oil into a large pot. Add onion and jalapenos. Cook until softened and add beef. Cook until fully browned. Add in diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine well. 

3. Add tomato sauce and kidney beans. Stir well. Bring to a simmer and let cook about 30 minutes. 

4. Fill each squash half with chili. Serve hot.