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Bean and Butternut Squash Picadillo



Give the season's favorite vegetable a Mexican twist with this savory picadillo recipe by Aarón Sanchez. 


  • 1 Cup canola oil
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 1/2 Pound thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 Cups chicken stock
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • One 28-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 Cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 Cup thinly sliced basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


To make "Garlic-Chipotle Love," preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 

Pour the canola oil into a heavy, ovenproof medium saucepan and add the whole cloves of garlic. Cover the pot with foil, put it in the oven, and cook until the garlic turns a nutty brown and is really soft (think cream cheese), about 45 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and let the garlic and oil cool to room temperature.

Put the garlic and the now garlic-infused oil into a food processor or blender. Add the chipotles and sauce, cilantro, lime zest, and 1 teaspoon of salt and purée until the mixture is very smooth.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of it for the picadillo and store the rest in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to a month.

Cook the bacon in a medium stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat until it’s lightly browned and has rendered its fat, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic and cook until the onion is tender and translucent, about 6 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and add the squash cubes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Add the black-eyed peas, Garlic-Chipotle Love, and corn. Simmer until the picadillo has thickened and the flavors come together, about 12 minutes.
Stir in the basil and salt and pepper to taste. Divide among six bowls, and serve with rice and salsa.