Slamming Butternut Chilijack

August 13, 2008 · 18 comments · Print This Post

in Dinner, Disasters, Pasta / Grains, Vegetarian

Butternut Chilijack

All it does in Boston lately is rain every single day so this spicy and hearty recipe felt very fall and yet still appropriate when we made it. In his new cookbook, Food 2.0, the brilliant Charlie Ayers, former executive chef at Google, proclaimed that this dish was “slamming.” And oh how it lived up to its reputation…

CK and I have been obsessively watching Supernatural on DVD in the evenings so our nightly routines goes something like this: get home, I whine about not wanting to go on a run, CK makes me, shower, make dinner, watch silly boys battle ghosties, beasties, and ghoulies until I fall asleep on the couch. What’s missing? Oh yeah! That whole clean-up the kitchen thing.

So on Butternut Chilijack night, we were both very lazy and left the kitchen a complete mess. Honestly I didn’t even give it another thought. After all, CK is a fabulous kitchen picker-upper, but than I got a phone call and an odd question was posed to me, “Which towels don’t you like?”

It would seem that while trying to dispose of the butternut squash peelings in the garbage disposal something awful happened. The sink plugged, a leak sprung, and when poor CK bent over to investigate under the cupboard the pipe exploded stringy squash all over CK and the kitchen.

Just because you’ve always successfully stuffed everything from banana peels to limes down the disposal doesn’t mean it wont get back at you in some malicious way when you least expect it. In the end, I came home from work, the lovely maintenance man fixed the disposal, the kitchen was cleaned, and Chef Ayers Chilijack will live on in kitchen infamy.

Butternut Chilijack
Originally published in Food 2.0 by Charlie Ayers
Serves 4

2 butternut squashes, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 red onions, diced (Note: I only used one as I’m not a super fan of red onion).
1/4 cup sliced jalapeno chillies (from a can or jar)
1 tbsp mild chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tomatoes, diced, or 1 cup drained, canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed (Note: I left this out. CK wanted it, but I wasn’t feeling very corn friendly that night)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
A handful of fresh cilantro leaves torn into pieces

Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Combine the squash, onions, and chilies in a roasting pan and season with chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Drizzle the grapeseed oil over and toss well. Roast until just tender but still with some texture, 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and tip into a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, corn, Monterey Jack cheese, and cilantro. Mix gently until the cheese begins to melt. Serve warm

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cze-Johnson Carrie August 13, 2008 at 9:17 am

this looks really good!! I’ll try it for sure during Lent next year when I’m on my vegetarian kick, or at our next dinner gathering with our neighbors. Is grapeseed oil common? I don’t have any.

glad the disposal got fixed, and hooray for new towels!


2 Hänni August 13, 2008 at 10:30 am

chili with no beans? sacrilege. charlie ayers must be from texas.

btw a chunk of my ceiling fell on my head today. i didn’t even bother calling the maintenance man, after all it took two months to “fix” the gate he broke on a previous visit.


3 Erin August 13, 2008 at 11:12 am

Cute story! And btw, chili without beans is the ONLY way I eat it! Yum!


4 Grace August 13, 2008 at 11:36 am

I’ll definitely be making this sometime soon! Thanks, Erin!


5 Paula August 13, 2008 at 11:58 am

I want to try this soon! well, maybe not the exploding pipe part;)


6 Lys August 13, 2008 at 12:40 pm

This really looks like a great recipe. Sorry that CK got “doused” 🙂


7 F_D August 13, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Oh man this sounds super-good. (And super-fun to make.) I can’t wait until the butternut squash in our garden are ready!


8 Ashley August 13, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Yikes about your garbage disposal! Good that it’s fixed now. This dish looks delicious.


9 Claire August 13, 2008 at 2:35 pm

The only word for that photo: yum! That dish is even friendly on my diet. 🙂


10 RobynT August 13, 2008 at 5:48 pm

wow, this recipe seems very unique. i didn’t even get that it was chili. i guess i’m a little slow right now. do you eat it with any starch or other side dishes? (i’m from hawai’i where we eat chili with rice, but i don’t think rice would be the answer here…)

yeah and why grapeseed oil? i’d like to try this, especially as i’ve been wanting to try preparing squashes.


11 Trysha August 14, 2008 at 12:57 am

Mmmm…this looks so good. I can’t wait until the weather starts changing.

I learned my lesson with garbage disposals: the woody part of asparagus vs. disposal. Outcome: Veggie power!


12 grace August 14, 2008 at 4:11 am

i usually fiercely miss the garbage disposal i had in my last apartment, but at this moment, not so much. 🙂
meanwhile, this dish is amazing. i often eat something just like it, but without the squash–it’s too much trouble for the sloth that i am. i’ll try to summon the energy to manhandle some squash so i can stay true to your recipe. 🙂


13 Nikki August 14, 2008 at 8:51 am

I made chili yesterday too, in somewhat balmy North Carolina. Well, 70 degrees and rainy anyhow. I’m going to have to pick up some butternuts and pumpkins soon and start making chilis and french fries…


14 Hillary August 14, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Chili out of butternut squash sounds magnificent. What a great looking dish!


15 Abbey August 15, 2008 at 1:21 am

Oh My Goodness! That is stinking (literally) hilarious! (Sorry CK!)

If you get sick of the rainy weather out there, come visit the sunny coast of California. (Uh…but bring sweaters because it is pretty darn cold at my house – even mid-summer!) 🙂


16 AJ January 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm

this is killer! it tuned out a little spicey for the kid, added less cayenne the next time. winner!


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