Sunday, October 24, 2010

2 Kinds of Chili

A few weeks ago, I organized a Chili Cook-off for our workplace charitable campaign. The event was more of a success than I expected and we raised about $300. Though my chili didn't win, it was still fairly good and the espresso and honey gave it a unique flavour.  This week, Nigel decided that he wanted chili again, so I made a more traditional ground beef chili (it was delicious!).  As with any spicy dish, season to your taste and feel free to kick things up a notch with extra chili powder, hot sauce, or peppers.

Two-bean Vegetarian Chili with Espresso
1- 15 oz. can red kidney beans
2- 15 oz cans black beans
1 1/2 cans diced tomatoes
1 red pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 yellow onion
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tbsp. ground cumin
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup honey

Saute onions, garlic, jalapeno, carrots, and red pepper until onions and carrots are tender. Add espresso and chili powders. Next, add tomatoes, beans, vinegar, and honey. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.
Since I was serving mine the next day, I refrigerated the chili and then re-heated in a crockpot for about 3 hours on high.

Meat Chili
1lb. lean ground beef
2 cans red kidney beans
1- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1- 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with spicy red peppers (or jalapeños)
1 small yellow onion
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tbsp. Mexican chili powder
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 cup cracked bulgar wheat
Splash of Louisiana hot sauce

Cheddar cheese and/or sour cream to serve

Brown ground beef on medium-high heat. When it's almost done cooking, add the Mexican chili powder, then set aside.  In a pot, sautee onions, garlic, and jalapeño in olive oil until onions are soft. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, vinegar, and chili powder to the pot and bring to a simmer. Drain the fat from the ground beef and add to the pot. Add the bulgar wheat and cook for 20 minutes until it is tender.

Serve with cheddar cheese and corn bread too!

Roasted Chicken and Squash Soup

roasted chicken and squash soup recipe

It snowed here yesterday in Ottawa- October 22! Since I've been slacking on the posts lately, I decided to make something "fall-ish," even though it is apparently already winter here. This soup is so tasty, the flavours all work really well together and the soup tastes fresh and light, but is actually very filling. Another hit recipe from Serious Eats.

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium dice
1 medium yellow onion, cut into medium dice
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1-2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Fresh cilanto, for garnish

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 425°F. Arrange the squash, onion, and chicken on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and roast until the chicken is cooked through and squash is tender, about 30 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate to cool enough to handle, then pull the meat from the thighs, discarding the bones and skin. Chop into cubes and set aside.

In the meantime, combine the squash, onions, and chicken broth in a medium pot. Add the cumin and coriander and bring to a simmer. With a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash up the soup (it will still be somewhat chunky), then add the lemon juice. Add the chicken pieces, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and top with fresh cilantro as a garnish (or if you don't have cilantro, cayenne pepper adds a nice little kick).

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Butter

The original plan was to make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls for brunch today, but the kitchen activities last night plus a hockey game to watch meant that I didn't consider that I needed yeast and to let the dough rise for a few hours... SO the solution was to see what I did have in my cupboard. The result was some amazingly delicious and super easy Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Butter. The pancakes were a bit of a cheat, given that  I used Aunt Jemima's Buttermilk Pancake Mix as a base and they were inspired by Dorie on Serious Eats.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Aunt Jemima's Buttermilk Pancake Mix (about 1- 1 1/2 cups)
Water (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. dark rum
2 tbsp. brown sugar

Mix ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk. Adjust amount of water in order to make a fairly thin mixture. Let sit for about 5 minutes before cooking. Heat a tablespoon of oil in an iron skillet and cook each pancake at medium-high. When bubbles break through the surface in the middle of the pancake, flip to the other side.

Serve with cinnamon butter and maple syrup!

Cinnamon Butter
Also from Serious Eats

4 tbsp. butter at room temperature
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Stir together ingredients until well blended. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
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