Summer Squash Chili with White Cheddar Cornbread 5

My friend Emily has been studying for the New York State Bar Exam and decided to spend her birthday studying in Washington Square Park. She had this great idea, inviting friends to join her in the park, to study or read a book, or just say hi. Of course, I wanted to bring her some food. It’s really the best or only way I know how to say Happy Birthday!

I decided on Summer Squash Chili with White Cheddar Cornbread for a couple of reasons. I wanted something that could be packed easily and eaten at any temperature, and something that would not spoil easily. Emily is a vegetarian who watches dairy pretty carefully, so I used Cabot cheddar which is not made with any animal rennet. Lastly, I’ve been itching to use the beautiful summer squash abundantly available right now, so that all came together to this little combo dish. The Summer Squash Chili draws from the familiar flavors of chili but it is not the slow-cooked or stewed recipe you will often see. Actually, cooking time is just a few short minutes. The reason is because the freshness of summer squash is at its best when it’s cooked lightly so that it retains that crisp snap. The result is light and summery in contrast to most chilis which are more suitable for winter.

Both recipes stand alone on their own, but if you’re serving these together, you’ll want to make the cornbread first. This cornbread is light and super moist. It would pair well with any chili but can be eaten during any season.

White Cheddar Cornbread
~makes one 9×13 pan

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (15 oz) can cream style corn
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions –

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray.

2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter. Beat eggs in one at a time. Mix in cream style corn and cheddar.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Mix flour mixture into wet mixture thoroughly.

4. Pour into prepared pan and tilt the pan back and forth to even out.

5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto cutting board and cut pieces to serve. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature.

I love that cornbread is easy to cut into any shape and lends itself to so many presentations.

White Cheddar Cornbread 3

Summer Squash Chili
~about 5 servings

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced zucchini
  • 2 cups diced yellow squash
  • 1 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas (from can)
  • 2/3 cup canned tomato sauce (mostly puree)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

Instructions –

1. Heat oil on medium heat in a large (about 12″) pan. Saute onions and garlic with a little salt. Stir around for about a minutes.

2. Stir in zucchini, yellow squash, and chickpeas. Sprinkle with salt and a little pepper. Toss around for a minute.

3. Add tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, and hot paprika. Toss around just until summer squash is al dente, check seasoning and remove from heat. Toss with parsley and serve.

Presentation Suggestion:

Set a 3 1/4″ ring (or round cookie cutter) in the center of the plate. Press the chili in however deep you want it. Remove the ring gently.

Summer Squash Chili disc

Cut the cornbread with 1 1/2″ circular cookie cutter. Place it in the center of the Summer Squash Chili disc. Stick a parsley leaf on top.

Summer Squash Chili with White Cheddar Cornbread 8

posted by jessica at 08:47 AM Filed under American, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.