Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summertime Chili

Look at this beautiful chard...isn't it pretty?
I find it nearly impossible to visit a summer farmer's market and resist the gorgeous arrays of produce. I always come home with more than I need and then spend the rest of the day trashing my kitchen as I cook and prepare it all before that freshly picked goodnessness is lost.

But my repertoire of great warm weather recipes are getting boring as summer dances on and I use them over and over. I wanted something new today so I made something up. I'm calling it Summertime Chili and wow was it good!

 My Summertime Chili
serves 4

Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut in large dice
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 generous rounded tablespoons chili seasoning (see below)
1/2  tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 package of Boca crumbles
1 can of your favorite beans---low salt if available----well rinsed and drained. (I used cannellini, the red color matched the chard)
2 large (or 3 medium) roughly chopped Roma tomatoes (include skin and seeds) 

1 cup fresh unsalted tomato sauce
1 cup unsalted chicken or vegetable stock

2 cobs of fresh corn grilled, ‘corn milk’ and corn kernels scraped off. Break cobs in 1/2 and reserve.
1/2  red, green or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1” cubes
1 small cubanel pepper cut in 1” cubes

3 stalks of red chard, stems removed and sliced, greens cut in half lengthwise, rolled and cut into chiffonade 
1 small zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 disc (1.5 oz) Ibarra Mexican Chocolate      

In a 3 quart pot set over medium heat, sauté onions in 2-3 TBS extra virgin olive oil until soft. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.  Add oregano, cumin, chili powder and cook 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients (including the cobs) except the zucchini and chard greens. Bring to a simmer and partially cover. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chard greens & zucchini, stir and simmer a further 15 minutes.

Remove cobs and serve with dollops of sour cream and thinly sliced green onions.

3 dried Ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons whole coriander
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon chili powder
Put everything in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and the chilis have softened, about 3 minutes. Put the spices into a spice mill or food processor and grind until they are powdered. Makes about ½ cup. Store tightly covered in a cool dry place