MK's Favorite Chili, in time for Chilly Weather

I love this recipe because it comes together quickly, makes a boatload of chili, and is packed with flavor. While the directions call for using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, that is certainly not necessary, and you could also make this recipe using the slow cooker or simmering it on the stove top—you’ll just have to start earlier. If your family loves spice, by all means amp up the chili powder, or get really ambitious and grind your own chili fresh. I feed a household of spice wimps (myself included), so we wanted chili flavor without excessive heat. You can also use all ground beef, if you prefer. I like the mix, but it is by no means necessary.

I highly recommend accompanying this with hot cornbread, and eating it around a campfire. One unexpected benefit of the campfire is that small humans tend to get distracted by the fire and not visually scrutinize their dinner in the same intense manner that they do when indoors. (“What this thing? I no like it.”) With the additional motivation of s’mores, ours wolfed down 2 bowls each.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely grated or minced

  • 1 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 t cinnamon

  • 1 28 oz and 1 13.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

  • EITHER 2 cans beans (your choice) or 1 cup dry beans, pre-soaked—we used Jacob’s Cattle Beans and they were really delicious.

  • Fresh lime juice, to taste (optional)

  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt, for serving

  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving

  • Cubed avocado, for serving (optional)

  • Pickled jalapeño, for serving (optional)

  1. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker set to the sauté function on high if possible. Saute the onion in the pressure cooker, stirring frequently, until translucent. In a separate skillet or dutch oven, brown the meat. Season meat with 1 teaspoon salt and set it aside.

  2. Stir into the onions the chili powder, cinnamon, oregano, tomato paste, and cumin, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in beef and any juices from the plate, the tomatoes, beans, butternut squash, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then cover and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.

  3. Stir in a squeeze or two of lime juice, then taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with sour cream, avocado and pickled jalapeño if you like.

MK Barnet