Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chilly or is it Chili?

This cool weather has me in “hunker down and wear sweaters and eat chili” mode. And much to my delight I have 2 AWESOME chili recipes that will make you feel warm and snuggly from the inside out. One is quick and easy, the other requires a bit more chopping, but is totally worth the effort.

Three Bean Chili
Serves 6
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or one 16-ounce can of tomato sauce)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of dry quinoa
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Water or tomato juice as needed
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or fresh parsley (optional)

1. Heat up the oil in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. You could just use water instead, but I like to add a little fat for flavor.
2. Add the bell peppers, onion, garlic, oregano, and chili powder, cayenne, coriander, and cumin, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the tomatoes and all the beans, and bring to a boil. Add a little water as needed.
4. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, adding water or tomato juice as needed if too much liquid evaporates.
5. While the beans cook make the quinoa. First rinse it several times, until the water runs pretty clear. Then bowl 1 cup water and add the quinoa to it. Put a lid on it and lower the heat (basically do just the same as cooking rice). It should be done in about 20 minutes, but check occasionally and if the water is gone then the quinoa is ready.
6. Stir the cooked quinoa into the bean mixture. Add as much as you want. If you like a more soupy chili, add less, if you like a thick chili, add more. Save any leftovers, you can use them later in the week. Season with salt and black pepper, and stir in the cilantro or parsley. Enjoy.

Serving suggestions and variations:
*You can obviously use any color variation of bell pepper; the more color variety, the prettier the dish is. Same goes for the beans. You can use all black or white (Navy, Great Northern, etc.) instead of pinto. It’s really up to you, your preferences, and what you have on hand.
*Add more cayenne and chili powder to make it hotter.
*Serve with different color tortilla chips: white, red, and black/blue. Or my favorite way which is covered in Fritos and sliced avocado. Yum!

White Chili
Serves 6
1 can of black beans
1 can of Navy beans (or Northern beans)
1 veggie bullion cube
2 tsps extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 stalks of chopped celery
1 or 2 chopped carrots (3/4 of a cup, or so)
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups of water
1 small can of chopped green peppers
1 tsp cumin
A shake or 2 of oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat up the oil. Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Stir until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups of water and the veggie bullion cube, bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat and put a lid on it. Let it cook for 5 or 10 minutes, checking occasionally to see if the celery and carrots are softening.
Take a 1 cup measuring cup and dip it into the mixture , scoop about ½ cup of the liquid from the pot (try not to pick up any of the veggies if you can and watch your fingers, it will be hot)
Pour out the rest of the mixture (I just strain it) and add the ½ cup of liquid back to the pot with the veggies.
Add the cumin and oregano
Strain and rise the black beans. Add them to the mixture
Add the Navy beans and the can of green chili’s to the mixture (don’t drain the beans or the chilis)
Bring the mixture to a boil and add salt and pepper as needed
Serving suggestions and variations:
*You can change this up in so many ways. Adding bell peppers or corn or red pepper flakes for more heat.
*Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips and sliced avocado. It is deeelish.