Sharing a spiced lamb chili with butternut squash & kale using local American lamb today! This chili is hearty and comforting, with lots of warming spices and satisfying ingredients. The ground lamb gives it a rich flavor, while the caramelized butternut squash adds a little sweetness. It comes together really easily and simmers for just about an hour on the stove. Perfect game day recipe to warm up with on the couch or bring out to a tailgate!
This post is sponsored by the American Lamb Board. Head to their Instagram page @fanoflamb to enter to win some awesome tailgating goods such as a Traeger grill, a Yeti cooler, and more!
spiced lamb chili – the details
The key to this chili is of course the lamb! It adds such a lovely rich, unique flavor to the dish and works perfectly with all of the spices, the squash, and the kale. I recommend going to your local butcher to pick up some American ground lamb for the best possible quality and flavor. If they don’t have lamb already ground, you can usually ask them to grind it fresh for you!
On to the chili…the first step is to caramelize the squash and then transfer it out of the pot. This is a crucial step to avoid the squash cooking too long and becoming mush. You’ll add it back in at the end of the cooking process, so it keeps its bite and remains perfectly caramelized.
Next up, you’ll want to brown the lamb for just a few minutes and then drain it into a colander. This is another important step. All of the fat and liquid produced from browning the lamb would be a little too overpowering if left in the chili. The flavor we want is in the meat itself.
From there, it’s all about layering in the remaining ingredients – first the onion & red peppers, then the spices, and then the fire-roasted tomatoes and vegetable stock. The spice blend is a mixture of chili powder, crushed chipotle pepper, cumin, coriander, and cloves. It’s the most delicious combination of warmth, smokiness, and brightness.
You’ll add the lamb back in as well and simmer everything for about an hour. The final touches? Kale for more substance, butter beans for a creamy bite, and lots of lime juice to brighten everything up.
The finished product is so incredibly delicious!
And of course, the best part of this spiced lamb chili is the toppings! You can keep it simple with just one or two, or go all out and add a dollop of tangy yogurt, lots of shredded white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced green onions, and fresh cilantro.
Serve this at your next game day gathering and everyone will absolutely love it. You can easily throw it into a crockpot to keep warm and transport it to a tailgate. Just prep your toppings, keeping them separate, and then have everyone build their own bowl!
And if you’re looking for more lamb recipes, here are a few favorites:
Braised Lamb Shanks with Creamy Polenta
Lamb Bolognese with Herbs & Parmesan
Lamb Chops with Fennel Slaw & Spiced Yogurt
Spiced Lamb Chili with Butternut Squash & Kale
spiced lamb chili with warming spices, hearty butternut squash, kale, and butter beans…topped with plenty of cheese, greek yogurt, and green onions
- olive oil, as needed
- 1 (2 lb) butternut squash, peeled + seeded + diced ½”
- kosher salt, as needed
- 2 lbs ground American lamb
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp crushed chipotle pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 1 qt vegetable stock
- ½ cup water
- 3 cups shredded kale
- 1 (15 oz) can butter beans
- 2 limes, juiced
- toppings: greek yogurt, white cheddar cheese, green onions, cilantro
- Heat a large (7.25 qt) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the butternut squash and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often until caramelized and almost tender. Transfer the squash to a plate.
- Break the ground lamb into pieces and add it to the pot. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until browned on all sides, breaking it up more as it cooks. Drain the lamb in a colander set over a bowl. Discard the fat.
- Add the onion and red peppers to the pot. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until deeply caramelized. Stir in the chili powder, crushed chipotle pepper, cumin, coriander, and cloves. Cook for another 30 seconds or so.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, and water. Add the lamb back to the pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour until thickened, stirring occasionally (see note).
- Stir in the kale, butter beans, and butternut squash. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the kale has slightly wilted and the squash is tender. Lastly, stir in the lime juice. Season with salt to taste.
- Ladle the chili into bowls and top with a dollop of greek yogurt, a generous sprinkle of white cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, and cilantro.
USDA recommends cooking ground lamb to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.