Thursday, November 7, 2013
Three-Bean & Corn Chili
It's getting downright cold here. Sadly, I know this is nothing compared to the next few months. Feeling my face hurt in 8-degree cold and shoveling in knee-deep snow are among my least-favorite things. To warm up, I've been baking up a storm and making lots of soups and stews. This Three-Bean & Corn Chili from Flour bakery's second cookbook will be making lots of appearances over the next few months. It's full of cannellini beans, black beans, chickpeas, corn, sweet potato, and carrots. Pimenton, or smoked Spanish paprika, gives it an unexpected smokiness and depth. And to mix it up, I used ancho chile powder when the recipe called for chili powder.
I didn't think Joe would like this, expecting his reaction to be along the lines of: "Where's the beef?" But we loved it. I'll be making beef chili at some point also, because we love our red meat. But this bean chili is hearty without weighing you down, and has got loads of flavor. It's also super-healthy and low in the calorie department, both good things as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach. If you're vegetarian or vegan, this will be a welcome addition to your repertoire (minus the cheese if you're the latter, of course). Stay warm, friends!
Spicy Three-Bean and Corn Chili
From Joanne Chang's Flour, Too: Indispensable Recipes for the Cafe's Most Loved Sweets & Savories
Makes 3 quarts. Serves 6 to 8, with generous portions.
Note: The intro to the recipe strongly recommends using dried beans for the best flavor. I used cans or cartons (since they're BPA-free) for the convenience. Also, if you prefer mild heat, halve the amount of chili powder.
⅔ cup/120 grams dried cannellini beans, or one 15-oz. can of cannellini beans
⅔ cup/120 grams dried black beans, or one 15-oz. can of black beans
⅔ cup/120 grams dried chickpeas, or one 15-oz. can of chickpeas
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
One 15-oz. can of corn kernels, drained and rinsed (I used frozen)
One 4-oz. can of minced mild green chiles
Two 14½-oz. cans of "no-salt added" diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tbs sherry vinegar
2 tbs packed brown sugar
1 tbs plus 1 tsp chili powder
1 tbs smoked Spanish paprika
2 tsp cocoa powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs plus 1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
If using dried beans, placed them together in a bowl or other container, add 2½ quarts of water, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the beans. In a large saucepan, bring the beans and about 2½ quarts of fresh water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, or until the beans are tender. Remove from the heat and drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Set the beans and liquid aside separately. If using canned beans, drain, rinse under cold running water, and set aside.
In a large stockpot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, sweet potato, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften, the onion starts to turn translucent, and you can smell the vegetables cooking. Add the drained beans, corn, green chiles, tomatoes, and 4 cups of the bean cooking liquid, or water if you have used canned beans, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, cocoa powder, cayenne, salt, and white pepper. Stir until well mixed and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture thickens a bit.
The chili can be ladled into bowls and served immediately, or it can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated overnight to develop flavor and texture. It can also be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up 1 month.