Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bean Party Chili with Cornbread

It is snowing in April. I know, April weather, it happens. So that's why you need a bowl of this warm chili. It's comforting, satiating, and has different textures and bursts of flavors, not to mention is very affordable. It's colorful too, you eat with your eyes after all!

I like to add a few ingredients that lift this from a tomato bean stew into a proper chili. So you need ancho chilies, which are dried poblano chilies - they have a rich raisiny flavor. Also cocoa powder adds a fun bitter depth, which is also important in a complex chili. My friend Rachel Khoo adds a tablespoon of miso to hers -- you could try that too for extra umami.

Make a giant bowl of it, share with friends -- invite people over for a chili party and serve different toppings that everyone can add and make their own. I limited myself to red cabbage, fermented carrots, corn, habanero chili and coriander but you could go crazy -- add pumpkin seeds, cheese, avocado, radishes -- the list is endless. Let me know your favorites!

Divya's Bean Party Chili with (gluten-free) Cornbread
Serves 6

3 tbs rapeseed oil
2 large onions, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 tbs cumin powder
1 tbs ancho chili powder
1/2 tbs oregano (I prefer Mexican oregano)
1-2 tbs chipotle in adobo
1 tbs cocoa powder
1 tbs soy sauce or tamari
4 dried apricots, finely chopped
800g (28oz) crushed tomatoes
3 packs (720g) black beans, rinsed and drained
3 packs (720g) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 packs (500g) giant white beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 cups of water
salt and pepper

Cornbread (recipe follows)
Fresh coriander
Cooked corn
Red cabbage, thinly sliced
Fermented carrots
Monterey jack cheese

Gluten-free cornbread:
3/4 cup masa harina (corn flour treated with lime)
1/4 cup medium polenta
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vinegar
5 tbs (25g) rapeseed oil
1 tsp sugar

1. Make the chili: In a large pot, heat oil and sauté the onion on low heat until soft and translucent. Add garlic, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cumin powder, ancho chili powder, oregano and sauté for a minute until the spices are toasted. Then add chipotle in adobo, cocoa powder, soy sauce, apricots and tomatoes and cook on medium-low heat until the tomatoes are concentrated and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Then add the beans, water and salt and pepper. Simmer for another 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

2. While the chili is cooking, make the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F. Grease a cast-iron pan with rapeseed oil. Measure the milk, then add vinegar, oil and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together masa harina, polenta, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Then mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve the chili with cornbread and the garnishings of your liking. Enjoy!

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