Red Lentil & Black Bean Chili

Hello there– I try not to be too too bossy when I write to you, but today I do want to overstep and  strongly recommend that you try this recipe!  It looks a little plain, no chocolate or bacon involved…  But it’s a new favorite around here.  Hearty enough with all those black beans and lentils– and it’s the flavoring– smoked paprika and roasted red peppers… that make it so savory good.  Also avocados always help!

RED LENTIL & BLACK BEAN CHILI
3 tab. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped to small pieces
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tab. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tab. cumin
3 bays leaves
6 cups vegetable both
2 cups lentils
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes
14 oz. can tomato sauce
7 oz. can salsa verde (Herdez)
2  14 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
14 oz. can sweet corn, rinsed
12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, chopped*
1 tab. honey
salt  & freshly ground pepper to taste
garnishes (take your pick!):  avocado, sour cream, grated cheddar, cilantro, quest fresco, a squeeze of lime, tabasco sauce…

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and throw in the onion bits and chopped carrot.  Cook until the onions are soft and then add the garlic.  Cook 1 minute more.  Add the chili power, smoked paprika and cumin. Cook two more minutes until they are fragrant.

Add the lay leaf, broth, cut tomatoes, tomato sauce, lentils and salsa verde to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a rolling simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are tender (but not mushy!).

Finally stir in the black beans, corn, chopped roasted red pepper.  Taste and see if you need to add some salt & pepper (I did add a little of both).  Simmer for 10 more minutes to heat it all through.  Serve piping hot with the garnishes you like…

*Roasted red peppers are the best price at Trader Joe’s and come in 12 oz. jars!!

Citrus Chili Chicken

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Hello all– It’s been been fun to sit down to dinner this week.  My sis, Luanne and her husband are staying with us for a couple weeks, on their summer home from Kosovo.  Mostly we’ve been cooking together and working on a couple sewing projects and watching a whole lot of the Olympics.

So here was dinner a couple nights back.  Citrus flavor with a bit of spice glazing the chicken, and toasty roasted potatoes rounding out the plate.  Add a bright salad and a couple congenial houseguests.  Just great.

CITRUS CHILI CHICKEN
12 red potatoes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
6 chicken thighs
1 lime
1 orange
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
25 good olives
1 cup chicken broth
1 tab. cornstarch

Cut the potatoes into wedges.  Put them in a glass bowl with an inch of water and cook for 5 minutes in the microwave.  Drain the water from the potatoes and spread them on a baking sheet.  Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle the garlic salt over the top.

Remove the skin from the chicken thighs (You can leave it on if you don’t mind the fat).  Set them in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Juice the lime and pour the juice over the chicken thighs.

Grate the peel from the orange and save.  Juice the orange and then in a mixing bowl stir together the orange juice, orange peel, smoked paprika, chili powder and salt.  Pour the mixture over the chicken.

Pop the chicken in the baking dish and the baking sheet of potatoes into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Take out the chicken and baste the chicken with the juices in the baking dish.  Cook the potatoes and chicken 20 minutes more.

When they are done, lift the chicken thighs  and potatoes onto a platter.  Sprinkle the olives over the top. Cover to keep warm.

Pour the juices from the chicken baking dish into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake together the chopped cilantro, chicken broth and cornstarch until it is all well blended.  Pour into the sauce pan with the juice and stir until the sauce thickens.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve it up warm with a crispy salad and a chunk of sturdy bread.  Enjoy!

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Chipotle Veggie Chili

IMG_2395Hey there– Looking for something warm and cozy and good for you, amid all the Holiday eating?  Set aside the fudge and roast beast (thank you Dr. Seuss) for this simple, filling Veggie Chili.  It makes a fine supper served up with a hot slab of cornbread.

CHILPOTLE VEGGIE CHILI
2 tab. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, stopped to smallish bits
1 chipotle pepper, seeds removed, minced
4 cloves garlic
1 tab. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
2  14 oz. cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes with garlic
14 oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can chili beans, include sauce
1 can yellow corn, drained
2 cups water
3/4 cup farro
1/2 tsp. salt & freshly ground pepper to tastE
garnish:  sour cream, cheddar green onions…

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and then toss in the chopped onion and carrots.  Sauce for 3 or 4 minutes until the onions are tender.  Then add in the chipotle pepper, garlic, chili powder and cumin and stir it around for a minute.

Then add in the tomatoes, black beans, chili beans, corn, water and faro.  Simmer on low for 10 to 15 minutes more until the faro is tender.

Season with salt & pepper to taste.  And serve it up hot with sour cream or cheddar or green onions…

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White Chicken Chili with Garbanzos & Cannellini Beans

IMG_3617Hi there– Soup’s here!!  After weeks, of crazy hot weather this fall, it’s finally cooled down!   I wore sweaters to school every day this week.  And switched over to my cozy winter pajamas.  We haven’t touched the air conditioning.  And soup!  Glorious soup!

I made a ample pot of this stuff and took soup lunches to school with me all week.  And it was delish–  all those chewy beans along with the tender chicken and slightly spicy broth.  So glad to be back to wonderful warming soup days!

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI WITH GARBANZOS & CANNELLINI BEANS
1 serrano chile
1 medium onion, cut to bits
2 tab. olive oil
4 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tab. flour
1 tsp. adobo sauce
1 chipotle chili, seeds removed, minced fine**
2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. cumin
1 tsp. dried basil
1 roasted chicken, boned and cut to nice bites
2 11 oz. cans white corn kernels, drained & rinsed
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1 7 oz. can salsa verde*
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup half & half (or whole milk)
3 tab. cornstarch
1 lime, juiced
salt to taste
garnish: sour cream, avocado, corn kernels (saved from the recipe), cilantro

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil.  Then toss in the cut up onion and the Serrano chile, cut lengthwise and the seeds removed.  Cook 4 or 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown.
Remove the Serrano and discard (unless you like your soup way spicier than I do!)

Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, adobo sauce, minced chipotle chili and 1 can of the cannellini beans that have been drained and rinsed.  With a stick blender whirl it all into a thick paste.  Or remove the mixture to a blender and blend it all up together and return to the pot.

To that mixture, add the rest of the chicken stock, garlic and basil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Then put in the chicken, corn, the 2nd can of cannellini beans, garbanzo beans and salsa verde.  Simmer on low for 10 minutes more.

Jus before serving, shake together the half & half and the cornstarch in a container with a tight fitting lid until it is all blended.  Stir it into the simmering soup for a few minutes, until it thickens a bit.  Then add in the lime juice and cilantro.  Simmer just a minute more.

Serve it up hot and garnish with sour cream, avocado and a sprinkle of cilantro and reserved corn kernels.  I hope you like it as much as we did!

*I like the Hedrez salsa verde.
**You can more chipotle, if you love more heat.

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Orange Chili Pork Cutlets

IMG_2561Hello there– There’s a couple reasons I love these little pork cutlets.  They have a sweet and spicy coating that just wakes them up.  And they cook up so quickly!  Let them sit in the marinade while you make the rice, a veggie, a bright leafy salad– and they cook up in less than 5 minutes.  Just right for a week night dinner.

ORANGE CHILI PORK CUTLETS
4 thin pork cutlets
2 tab. olive oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tab. orange marmalade
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tab. honey

In a baking dish, mix together the oil, chili powder, salt, marmalade, garlic and honey until they are thoroughly blended.  Then marinate the pork in the mixture for about 30 minutes.

Grill the cutlets in a skillet, just 2 minutes on each side over medium heat until they are cooked through–but still tender.

That’s it!  so easy.

Chili (with beer & bacon!)

IMG_2706Hi there–  I wish I could say we were avid football fans– and we had this super chili recipe to serve up to all our football fanatic friends while we cheered on our team in front of the t.v.  But actually, we go to one one Cal Berkeley game every fall to hang with our kids– and if some kind hearted friends include us in their super bowl party, we’re all in!

But I’m imagining this is the kind of chili that would go just great with football.  So if you love football (& chili) and want to have a big pot of something hearty & warming to serve your football watching friends, well, here it is:

CHILI (WITH BEER & BACON!)
4 strips bacon, cut to small bits
2 yellow onions, chopped
big splash of olive oil
2 pounds coarse ground beef*
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. chili powder
12 oz. bottle of beer (India pale ale– or your favorite)
2 14oz. cans petit cut tomatoes (with garlic & herbs)
2 14 oz. cans of chili beans
1 tab. brown sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped finely
1/4 cup cornstarch
for garnish– sour cream, grated cheddar, green onions, more cilantro…

In a soup pot, cook the bacon until it is crisp and then remove it from the pan.  In the bacon dripping, cook  the chopped onions and take them out as well.

Drop the beef into the pot and cook it 5 or 6 minutes until is is all  browned.  Spoon off any extra fat that is in the pan.

Add in the garlic, cumin, paprika and chili powder and stir to coat the meat.

Then mix in the beer, tomatoes, chili beans, and cilantro and set the pot to simmering slowly for about 30 minutes.

In a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the corn starch and 1/2 cup water.  Stir it into the chili to thicken the broth. Drop the bacon and onions back into the pot!

Serve it piping hot topped with cheddar or sour cream or green onions or cilantro (or any combination there of)– along with a slab of cornbread and a bright salad.  Football watching ready!

*When I went in to the get the meat from the butcher, I expected to find coarse ground beef for chili, but no.  They had “shredded beef steak”–   chunkier than I had planned.  But in the end it turned out great!  I think any chopped beef would do…

Lentil Chili

IMG_7062Hey Chili Lovers–  Lentil chili?  Yep lentils.  I have a soft spot for those things.  The years we lived in Spain, we shared pots of lentils and chorizo with Spanish friends along with chunks of hearty Spanish bread.  Wish I could sit around the table with Jose Maria and Carmen and talk over a bowl of lentils.

This is a decidedly un-Spanish version of lentils, but still delicious and pretty quick to put together for a chilly weekday dinner.  Spicy good.

LENTIL CHILI
onion yellow onion, chopped
splash of olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 14 oz. can chili beans (not rinsed)
2 14 oz. cans petit  cut tomatoes (with onion & garlic)
2 cups dry lentils
1 tab. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
for garmish– grated cheddar, tortilla chips, green onion, avocado, sour cream, cilantro…  (take your pick)

Heat the olive oil in your soup pot.   Drop in the onion bits and cook until they begin to brown.  Then add in the garlic, red peppers, chili beans (with their sauce), tomatoes, lentils, chili powder, cumin, salt and 8 cups of water.  Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Serve it up with a couple little bowls of happy toppings to add  in and a pan of cornbread to have alongside.

P.S.— I think these tasted better a couple days later as leftovers after the flavors could really meld together.