My super producing zucchini plant was destroyed in a summer storm, so I have been buying my zucchini from a variety of local farmers. The zucchini in this dish was from 2 different farms in Kent and Sussex Counties. They may not be my zucchini, but they are GOOD zucchini.
School is back in session, so our days are filling with sports and after school activities. So, time for some dinners I can make earlier in the day and have ready for a quick meal before we have to head out again. Chili is a perfect dish for that, I can make it and have it staying warm on the stove for the 15 minutes we are all in the house. Yes, I believe in family dinnertime, no matter how short it has to be, we all eat together.
I make several different chilis in different seasons. This is a perfect summer chili – the zucchini brightens it up and it is bursting with flavor. It feels light and fresh (not something I usually say about chili). It took a great deal of restraint to stop at 1 bowl.
Beef and Zucchini Chili
adapted from Food Network Magazine’s Beef and Summer Squash Chili
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb ground beef chuck
1 onion, chopped
1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 15-ounce can pinto beans (do not drain)
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (locally grown)
1 avocado, diced
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and brown, breaking up the meat as it cooks, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, poblano and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring, until combined, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, beans and their liquid to the pot; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
Add the zucchini and stir to mix in. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and the chili thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season with salt if necessary.
Top each serving of chili with avocado. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!