Appaloosa Bean Summer Chili
There is nothing like a move to show you how much stuff you have. One thing I have plenty of are beans. Common beans like chickpeas and lentils but also a multitude of heirloom beans. I bought a bunch of beans during my first trip to NYC, but they seemed too pretty to eat. Now I am on a mission, though… eat through my beans throughout the year.
Trust me, it wasn’t that I wasn’t eating my beans before. My white bean of choice this winter were the Yellow Eye Beans from Rancho Gordo (they held their shape wonderfully in two soups and were nice and creamy in the Moroccan phyllo triangles). I also tried out Marrow beans, which supposedly have a bacon taste but it was really subtle. They worked nice pureed in my High-protein Alfredo sauce as well as in soups.
As I said, I have a few pinto beans in my stash, so I was tickled pink when Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Pinto Bean Chili was my Random Recipe this month. I didn’t have many cookbooks to randomly pick at the beginning of the month due to the move, but since I already had River Cottage Veg Every Day! out, I picked that as my book. As it is a library book, I didn’t want it to be lost in the shuffle of the move! Once I selected a cookbook, the task was to cook the first or last recipe. I zoomed to the front of the cookbook. The first 2 recipes were not vegan (Aubergine Parmigiana, Chachouka), but the third recipe, and the first vegan one, was this Pinto Bean Chili. Once I finally made it to the grocery store, I was all set to try my heirloom pinto beans.
The heirloom pinto bean of choice: Appaloosa beans. Named after the colourfully dappled horse, these are incredibly pretty beans. At least before they have been cooked. Like the anasazi beans, they lost their vibrant colours after cooking. They keep their shape well and don’t have any strong flavours. They worked well in this summer chili with zucchini, red pepper and tomato. The red wine brought a robust depth of flavour and the summer flavours really shined through. I used Aleppo chile flakes as well as green chiles and this was perfectly spiced for me. A bit of spice that was cooled by the avocado. Want more heat? Add to taste… or use cayenne as written in the original recipe.
This is my submission to Random Recipes this month, to this month’s River Cottage Rocks Veggie Heaven, to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Ricki’s Weekend Wellness, to this week’s Sunday Night Soup Night, and to Cookbooks Sundays.
Appaloosa Bean Summer Chili
Adapted from River Cottage Veg Every Day!
1 tbsp olive oil
3 onions, chopped
2-3 green chilies, to taste, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1/4 tsp allspice
2 zucchini, chopped into 1-cm dice
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and cut into 1-cm dice
2 tbsp tomato paste
14 oz canned plum tomatoes, roughly chopped (undrained)
2 cups cooked Appaloosa beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed (they took 45 minutes me to cook)
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
A good handful of cilantro, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
handful cilantro, chopped
cabbage, sour cream, etc – for serving (optional)
1. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft, around 10 minutes. Add the green chiles, garlic, cumin, Aleppo chile flakes, and allspice and stir to combine. Allow to toast slightly, around 30 seconds.
2. Stir in the zucchini, red pepper, coating with the spices. Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes with its juice, cooked Appaloosa beans, red wine, cilantro and oregano. If the soups seems too thick, add 1 cup of vegetable broth or water. Season to taste.
3. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and gently simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the chili is thick and saucy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, create your avocado topping by mashing the avocado with the lemon juice and cilantro. If you are lazy like me, just top with the sliced avocado.
5. To serve, place chili in a bowl, top with avocado (mash), and add shredded cabbage/lettuce, sour cream, etc, as desired.