Wait! Let's stop right there with the cornbread part. I have not really been a big fan of cornbread throughout my life. It is often dry and crumbly, which I can deal with in chili but not in any other way. Or, it has jalapenos mixed in it, which makes it too spicy for my taste. Then, for awhile I made the cakemix kind of cornbread, which made it more moist, and sweet, but let's face it, I was eating cake with cornmeal in it. So, nothing really satisfied me when it came to cornbread. Now, fast forward to this year and our annual church Halloween party and chili cook-off. I signed up to bring cornbread. Don't ask me why. It had become a challenge to me, I guess. I started thinking and thinking about what I could do to make a really good cornbread. Then, I realized that in my refrigerator I had some leftover winter squash begging to be used. It was from the turban squash I had used in this recipe. I wondered to myself if that squash would work in my cornbread? Oh My Goodness! I have created the best cornbread ever!
First of all, the turban squash has a very mild flavor, so the taste is very subtle in the cornbread. But, it added such moistness and the bread came out fluffy and amazing to eat with chili. As a side bit, it can't hurt to sneak a little vegetable into your cornbread!
If you don't have some puree already ready to be used in your recipe, I suggest baking your squash for about an hour or so at 350 degrees, then cutting it open, scooping out the seeds and pureeing the flesh. It is super easy to do. (It is especially nice to do on a rainy day because it really makes you feel like you are doing an autumnal thing.) You don't have to use just turban squash. Butternut, acorn or even pumpkin should do the trick. The color and flavor may vary slightly though.