Autumn Spiced Chicken & Squash Chilli / Soup / One Pot Recipe and Food Photography Ideas

November 07, 2019

chicken squash chilli soup autumn recipe landscape food photography backgrounds backdrops

Autumn Spiced Chicken & Squash Chilli recipe, shot on the Earl food photography backdrop


Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog!

I wanted to share this recipe with you as it's SO warming at this time of year.  It feels like it hasn't stopped raining in Derbyshire (England!) at all yet in November, it's been grey and soggy day after day so having a big pot of this to dip into has been a real treat.

I'm not sure if its a chilli, a soup, a casserole, a stew, a one pot or something else - but I am CERTAIN that it is delish and has everything in it for a complete meal (it's paleo if you're into that).  You can of course add nachos, fresh greens, rice, chunky bread or even chips to dip in.  I'm a big fan of soup and chips, is that a thing where you are?! 

I tend to batch cook curries, soups etc so I can freeze portions and have them to hand when I can't be bothered to cook but want something wholesome and tasty, so this is a BIG recipe - half it if you only want enough for say 4 bowl portions.  (When I reheat from frozen I'll often add a big handful of fresh spinach or kale to liven it up again near the end of the cooking.)

As usual for me, this recipe is a mash up of things I've eaten out, recipes I've used and flavours I want to try.  I've made it 3 times now and for friends yesterday and the verdict was YUM so now I'm ready to share it with you!

In a nutshell, it's quite a typical chilli - tomato based sauce, hot (spicy hot!), comforting and easy to eat in chunky mouthfuls, but I've made it feel more autumnal with a different mix of spices, no paprika or kidney beans - it feels quite like a tagine actually.  Another title it could have only I didn't cook it in one! Only hotter and not sweetened at all. Pure comfort without being filthy (unless you want to add that of course!).

Oh and by the way, all my recipes fall into the category of 'lazy, tasty and pretty' - I don't often make things that require too much precision or faffing about, but I do like them to look pretty!  This is a hug in a bowl and will be easy to make I promise - and fill your house with amazing aromas! Check out the other #lazytastypretty recipes on this blog!

I hope you like it! Please let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below :)

Sophie xx


Autumn Spiced Chicken & Squash Chilli / Soup / One Pot / Tagine Recipe

 chicken squash chilli soup autumn recipe food photography backgrounds styling backdrops

Autumn Spiced Chicken & Squash Chilli recipe, shot on the Earl food photography backdrop



Coconut oil to cook

2 onions - red or white it doesn't matter!

4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped

Small thumb of fresh ginger

4 teaspoons cumin seeds 

4 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

teaspoon cayenne pepper

2-3 chillis - type and amount depending on how hot you like it!

2 medium squashes, roughly chopped into 2-3 cm pieces - I used a butternut squash and a crown prince squash

12 free range boneless chicken thighs, chopped into 1-2inch bite sized pieces

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

Handful of fresh coriander

500ml good quality chicken stock (Look for paleo if you need it to be, most isn't!)


To top

Sour cream

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds per person

1 teaspoon cumin seeds per person

Fresh coriander, dried chilli flakes to your taste



To make

Heat your oil in a large, deep sided frying pan or cast iron pot, soften the onion for around 7 minutes on a medium heat. 

If needed remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper and chillies.

Add more oil if needed and return to a low heat, warm the spices through for a few minutes before adding the chicken.

After thoroughly coating the chicken in the spices, add the squash (they'll absorb loads of flavour anyway!).

Add both the tinned tomatoes and enough chicken stock to cover, season and increase to a medium/high heat to bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat again and simmer for 20 minutes without a lid so it thickens up as the water evaporates.  Simmer or rolling boil for the last 10 minutes - allowing the sauce to thicken to your liking (or add more stock if you need to!).  At the end of the cooking throw some coriander in and stir through.

When you're ready to eat, heat a dry frying/sauce pan (no oil) over a medium heat and toast the pumpkin and cumin seeds - they'll only take a few minutes and will colour quickly once they start so hang around the pan for this bit!

Serve in bowls, top with sour cream, fresh coriander and the toasted seeds, add chilli flakes if you like!

If you make any of my recipes please let me know by commenting below and use the hashtag #lazytastypretty @blackvelvetstyling on Instagram!


 Autumn Spiced Chicken & Squash Chilli recipe, great with nachos and cheese too!


This recipe was shot on the Earl photography backdrop - it's one of my favourites as it's a very versatile medium grey, exudes a lot of texture and just lets the dish shine in a professional looking set up.  

You can see how different it can look depending on the depth of field and colour editing below.

Which image do you prefer of the three below? And which topping would you make - just cream and seeds, nachos and cheese, or chunky chips? :)


Featuring McCain triple cooked gastro chips - they're REALLY good, probably because they are cooked in beef dripping! When you cook them they leek a LOT of fat/oil but they taste sooooo good for it, more like roasties than chips!

Thanks for reading, I look forward to your comments! 

Sophie is a food and prop stylist and content creator working all over the UK and from home for large and small brands. Read more about Sophies styling work here or get in touch to discuss your project.



Rachael said:

Great recipe! Perfect for this cold weather. I’d definitely go for nachos and cheese. You can’t have a chilli without cheese. I love the pumpkin seeds image especially the beautiful shades of blue/grey.

Sally B

Sally B said:

With the food styling I think it looks the best with the topping of just cream and seeds I think! Love the shot of the 2 bowls with the cream & seeds topping, amazing!

Bee Rawlinson

Bee Rawlinson said:

This sounds fabulous and is going straight to the top of my to do list. I’ll let you know how it goes! And when it comes to toppings, I’d have to say all of them! (Don’t be ridiculous – no such thing as too many…)

Abi Knee

Abi Knee said:

Wowwwww this looks delicious! Love the idea of this. Mmmm….

Love the top image- you can see the dish really well! And definitely chunky chips- yum!

Tony Hutchinson

Tony Hutchinson said:

The two bowl shot is the best image

Tony H x

Pauline Scholey

Pauline Scholey said:

Could dive right into any of these, love image one though, all are superbly styled 👌

Emma Robinson

Emma Robinson said:

Hello! Love your work. I like the top image best with the pumpkins, it’s more of a cosy feel to suit the dish and I love the texture of the background. I would use the sour cream and seeds topping. I wouldn’t serve it with chips though, perhaps instead some really fresh crusty bread (or garlic bread).

Mr Dan Shearman

Mr Dan Shearman said:

Nice work chef! Shot number 2 with cream and seeds is the winner. Depth of field works a treat! Looks delicious!

Rachel Findlay

Rachel Findlay said:

I love image 1 simply because it’s slightly darker & cosier. And I’m all about cosy at this time of year! And I’d choose sour cream & seeds with maybe a side of chunky chips. Those chips look impossible to resist. Rachel x

Jacqui Bellefontaine

Jacqui Bellefontaine said:

I like the top image best somehow the stronger colour of the background helps the contrasting colour of the stand out even more


Esther said:

Beautiful shot, get the autumnal feel from all but favourite is the second 🙌🏽

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies said:

Love the Nachos & cheese photo …. love all the autumnal colours orange, yellows with the dashes of green


Doaa said:

I’m in awe that these are the same backdrops! Just beautiful! I love everything about the photo with just the cream and seeds.. the color play and composition.. and that’s how I would top my bowls too! Stunning work, Sophie!

Jo Bradbury

Jo Bradbury said:

I love al, of the above images but my favourite is the bottom right, I love the soft grey of the background which makes the colours in the chilli pop against the grey. And I would choose cream and seeds for a delicious topping! X

Emily Gallop

Emily Gallop said:

This looks super yummy! I’d definitely have it with chips and I think the top image is my favourite. I like the contrast and interest thats added with the dark blue cloth and the squash. :)

Sarah Moseley

Sarah Moseley said:

I love the second one it really makes the food pop.
Can I have all the toppings ? Lol

Keren Baker

Keren Baker said:

I prefer the styling in the first photo and the recipe sounds delicious!!

Stuart Cox

Stuart Cox said:

The first shot looks brilliant, simple, top down approach and the styling is impeccable.


Laura said:

Sounds gorgeous. I like number 2 best-with the 3 bowls. Like the contrasts in it.

Dana Smith

Dana Smith said:

The first layout is my favorite. The inclusion of the fabric (napkin?) completes the story.


danika said:

Omg such an amazing delicious recipe Autumn spiced chicken My Hubbs definitely gonna love this – n from top 3 images I love all of them it’s hard to say but I’ll go for cream and seeds – beautifully presented n styled – definetly a crowd pleaser…. n making it for Christmas…ill let you know how it turns out..😍😍

Andie Lawson

Andie Lawson said:

What a lovely recipe !! I lofebthe styling of number 2 with a hint of the darker shading of 1!!
Life’s too short not to have a choice of all the toppings! Love it!!


Annalena said:

Love the third one, also because it has the best toppings!


Samantha said:

The recipe sounds perfect for cold autumn days. I’m vegetarian so I’d have to leave out the chicken and throw in more veggies and some paneer instead! I’m drawn to the first image with the eye-catching navy blue pop of colour and would say that it’s my favourite of the three. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing x

Samantha |

Charlotte Mountain

Charlotte Mountain said:

I love the middle one a it’s nice and clean looking and I love how it shows off the background.
However I probably would want the dish with chips or really nice bread.
Sounds delicious!

Fiona Tait

Fiona Tait said:

I love the first one with the cream as it screams eat me! Although I’d definitely eat it with nachos on the side!


Emma said:

Loving the warm, oranges and reds of the food against that backdrop!
I’d say the first image, beautiful overhead shot and styling


Julia said:

I prefer the colours and the ‘full frame’ styling of the first photo. Plus, triple-cooked chips for the win ;)

Jane Burkinshaw

Jane Burkinshaw said:

Hi – I prefer the first shot – looks richer and the colours go together really well. I’d go with cream and nuts. xx


Lotta said:

I love the first one, love a good flat lay 😍
Plus this looks so delicious 🤤

Rachel Baker

Rachel Baker said:

I love the second shot love the background. Love the styling and colours.

Dana Whiteland

Dana Whiteland said:

Hi, what a great recipe and beautifully styled photos. I love the first image most. The simple yet busyness of the shot with colour coordinated blues. Makes me want to recreate my foot photos like it.
Can’t wait to try the recipe. Xxxx

Jennifer Oppermann

Jennifer Oppermann said:

Gorgeous warming spice combination. I love the hearty chunks of vegetables, a good old hug in a bowl.


Marta said:

I like the last image because it’s uncluttered allowing everything to shine!
Chunky chips for the win! 😁


Bettina said:

I like the 2nd photo the best and the cream topping with seeds. The backdrop looks great.


Sophie said:

Thanks for your comments everyone, good mix of favourites there! My personal fave is the 2 bowls shot as its simple and shows the food closest – and I edited it much cooler to make the red pop!

Good to hear what you like about the images, and yes those chips are amazing!!!

Thank you, Sophie xx

Tricia Seabold

Tricia Seabold said:

I love the composition and lay out of the shot with the two bowls of chili and the small white condiment bowl. So Appealing! I would want the cream and seeds AND nachos!. But I’m greedy that way. :-)


Nao said:

I love image 1 the best – I think the dark tones look fantastic with the warm tones in the bowl. And I would definitely use the seeds!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.