Sunday, January 19, 2014

Recipe 7: Black and Orange Chili (aka Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili)

Black and Orange Chili (aka Black Bean Pumpkin Chili)
This recipe came about as a craving for chili, and a desire to clear out the last remaining beer straggler from the fall in my fridge.  I like beer, but I’m not a huge consumer of it, and moreover, I’m doing Dryuary.  Which...well, sigh.  I miss you, wine.  But after a week, I kind of stopped caring, and am actually kind of enjoying the weird sense of freedom I’m enjoying.  Is that weird?  Anyways, I wanted to clear it out, and had a pumpkin beer, a can of pumpkin, and a can of black beans, so I thought I’d revisit pumpkin chili!  

It turned out better than my first attempt (I thought, but then again, I was starving by the time I ate it!), but in the future I’m going to up the spice profile.  My long term, committed relationship with sriracha seems to have increased my tolerance of spice, but that’s just me.  Spice as you like, and leave room to build!  I wanted to use turkey for this, but due to the New Years holiday and a storm that left New England grocery stores looking like the apocalypse had hit, there was none to be had!  I used chicken.  Meh?  I think turkey, or another lean beef or pork would be slightly more flavorful.  Or even TVP, if you amp up the spice profile a bit.  Lastly, I tried to aim for black and orange throughout, as I think this might be a fun recipe to revisit in October, when pumpkin beers and pumpkin flavors invade the universe again!  This could also be a great recipe for a viewing of one my favorite holiday movies: Nightmare Before Christmas!  

Black and Orange Chili (Black Bean Pumpkin Chili)
Serves roughly 6
Black and Orange Chili (aka Black Bean Pumpkin Chili)

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 bottle (roughly 12 oz) pumpkin beer (see notes)
1-2 jalapeno(s), diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 medium-large white onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lb ground turkey or chicken (or other lean meat or TVP)
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
3 Tsp chili powder
1 Tsp cumin
½ Tsp dried parsley
1 small head kale, chopped (see notes)
Olive oil, salt, black pepper, cayenne


1) In a large Le Creuset or Dutch Oven, saute garlic and onion in a little bit of olive oil over medium for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to become translucent.  
2) Add peppers, cumin, and chili powder and saute for roughly 3 minutes.
3) Add chicken (or other protein) and saute for 5-10 minutes, until juices start to run and there is little to no remaining pink.
4) Add beer and saute three more minutes; there will be a chemistry class worthy bubbling when you pour it in!
5) Add beans and stir to incorporate.
6) Add tomatoes and pumpkin, stir to mix, and add stock.  
7) Bring to a simmer, lower heat, and cook partially covered for roughly 1 hour.  Taste and season to your own profile; you may want to add at least ¼ tsp cayenne.  You may need to add a little more water unless you want a very thick soup.  Start with a half cup and build from there.
8) If you’d like to add kale, add to the pot (more liquid may be needed so add a little bit of water or stock, starting with a half cup).  Stir, partially cover pot, and let cook roughly ten more minutes until the kale tenderizes but maintains a good green color.
9) Serve!  Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, roasted pepitas, a dash of cayenne, avocado, cheese, chips, some combination thereof...the possibilities are limitless!

Black and Orange Chili (aka Black Bean Pumpkin Chili)

- If you do not like the flavor of beer, I suggest using half the bottle or one cup, not the whole thing.  Though the alcohol cooks off, some of the flavor of the beer is maintained with a higher volume use.
- You can use any kind of beans you like for your chili!   
- You also do not need to put kale in everything like I do.  I was just craving greens!  If you prefer a more traditional chili, omit the kale and maybe use an extra orange or green pepper?
- Sometimes jalapenos are crazy hot, sometimes they are nothing more than green peppers disguised as a jalapeno.  Aka, not hot at all.  I recommend using some of the seeds instead of discarding all if you want to get some more heat, but always taste test before adding more cayenne at the end.  

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