Posts filed under ‘Recipes’

Black Bean Chili for a Chilly Night

For weeks now (maybe even months), I’ve been swearing that I’ll start cooking big batches of food on the weekends so that I can take my lunch to work instead of buying pizza or a bagel or some other starchy snack. I finally got it together tonight and made an enormous pot of black bean chicken chili.

The recipe started out as Jack Bishop’s “Black Bean Soup with Cumin, Chiles, and Lime” recipe from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen (a recipe I highly recommend, by the way) but quickly metamorphosed into something more like chili than soup, not to mention something definitely not vegetarian. The seasonings and the lime juice, which, in my opinion, make the dish, are all Bishop’s. The chicken, red bell pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste and Worcestershire are my modifications.

Here’s the recipe. By all means, do try this at home.

  • 3 tablespoons canola, peanut or other neutral tasting cooking oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (I mixed Whole Foods’ house brand with the no-frills brand from the local grocery store)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 12-ounce bottle of beer (Any of the pumpkin brews now in season are delicious in this recipe. Whatever you do, don’t use anything too bitter.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with their liquid
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice (~2 limes)
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt to garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown, breaking up any large chunks of meat. With a slotted spoon, remove the browned chicken from the pan to a bowl. Set aside while you sauté the vegetables.
  2. Add onions and sweat them until they’re translucent. Stir in the garlic and peppers and cook until fragrant.
  3. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the chili powder, cumin and salt and stir to blend well with the chicken and vegetables. Cook until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Add the beer and water. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Let simmer until the alcohol burns off, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the beans, tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to blend with the rest of the ingredients and bring back to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the lime juice and optional Worcestershire sauce. Taste and add salt if desired.
  7. Serve garnished with yogurt or sour cream.

Serves: 6

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5 November 2007 at 22:58 3 comments

Weekend Project #1: Chowder

I was supposed to fiddle at a dance tonight, but ended up having a much-needed evening at home instead. Thank goodness for New England weather and the occasional snow emergency.

I got my laundry done (which means I can sleep in a little tomorrow morning), listened to a couple of episodes of a hilarious Swedish radio program whose podcast I just discovered and watched an episode of Law & Order: SVU, my new vice. (L&O and its various spin-offs are the British Empire of cable syndication: the sun never sets on them. I can almost always find at least one episode on some channel or other.)

What I really wanted to do, though, was cook soup. (I can’t really think of a better way to spend a snowy evening. Well, maybe curling up in bed with an escapist paperback novel and a cup of cocoa.) Unfortunately, I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed, and I wasn’t going out in a nor’easter just to buy potatoes. So the chowder will just have to wait until tomorrow when it stops sleeting.

I’ll be cooking up my favorite chowder recipe, one I came up with when I decided that the bacon and codfish I usually use for fish chowder could be replaced with smoked haddock.

The version below is the slightly lower-fat version I usually cook. For a truly low-fat version, you could substitute margarine of some sort for butter and replace the half-and-half with another 1/2 cup of low-fat milk. For a damn-the-cholesterol-full-speed-ahead version, use whole milk and heavy cream. (Don’t replace all the milk with cream, though. Chowder should manage to be both creamy and light.)

Smoked Haddock Chowder

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, well washed and finely chopped
  • 1 medium large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/4 pound smoked haddock, any skin and bones removed
  • 1 cup water or mild stock (preferably fish stock)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the butter until it sizzles. Add the leeks and sauté until soft and shiny.
  2. Add the potatoes, the haddock, the milk and the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Flake apart any large chunks of fish. Add the half-and-half and bring back to a simmer.
  4. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Serves: 2 (or one with leftovers for another day)

16 March 2007 at 23:26 2 comments

Dish of the Day: Quick Pasta for One

pasta.jpgWhen I don’t feel much like cooking, I tend to fall back on a handful of old favorite recipes. This pasta recipe is one of my standbys. I can prepare it in under thirty minutes.

3 ounces dried pasta*
1 Vegetarian Italian Sausage*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 generous pinch chili pepper flakes
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh greens*
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted until golden brown
Salt and pepper to taste

*Ingredient Notes:

  • Pasta: I’ve prepared this recipe with all sorts of pasta from spaghetti (as in the picture) to penne. The best pasta shapes have been those with indentations to hold the topping: fusilli, orechiette, etc.
  • Vegetarian Sausage: I’ve been using Boca brand Italian “sausage,” which have a nice fennel and sage flavor. If sausage is frozen, you’ll need to thaw it.
  • Greens: When I first came up with this recipe, I always used spinach, but now I’ve started to try other greens. Lately I’ve been favoring broccoli rabe. I cut off the top part of the stalk, from the point where the leaves start, and discard the tougher bottom portion of the stem. Eight to twelve stalks yield around two cups of chopped greens.
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package.
  2. While the water boils and the pasta cooks, prepare the “sausage” and greens.
  3. Mash the sausage with a fork and chop lightly with a knife until the consistency of ground meat.
    Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until it shimmers.
  4. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, and sauté until the garlic is just golden. This usually takes no more than 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Reduce heat to medium high and add sausage. Sauté the sausage until crispy and lightly browned.
  6. Add the greens and toss with the sausage. Sauté until just wilted.
  7. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the sausage and greens. Sprinkle with grated cheese, and stir to blend.
  8. Season to taste, and top with toasted pine nuts.

Serves: 1

13 March 2007 at 23:49 1 comment


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