Monday, February 15, 2010

Chili With a Spicy Beet

Late Saturday afternoon, Robin, Dave, and I journeyed from Portsmouth NH to Marlborough, MA to have dinner with our friend, Candace. On the way, we stopped at Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH to pick up our semi-weekly Winter CSA share. From an eating perspective, this CSA has been one of the best things we have ever done. In combination with the Seacoast Grower's winter farmers' markets, we've been able to enjoy fresh-from-the-farm vegetables and eggs all winter, including greenhouse-raised salad greens, endive, and spinach. Of course, we also get our share of root vegetables, so I'm always looking for interesting new ways to use turnips, parsnips, rutabags, and beets. Imagine my pleasure at learning that the excellent chili that Candace served us for supper had a surprising ingredient: red beets.

The recipe, from Good Housekeeping, is easy to make and looks as good as it tastes. It's vegetarian, too, though I suppose if you wanted to, you could add a little ground beef or turkey. The chipolte pepper gives it a nice, mellow heat, but you could probably add some chili powder if you wanted to up the Scoville Scale. Thanks to Candace for sharing the recipe and taking the photos. (And for a fun evening!) This is one chili that's too good to save for Valentine's Day.

Valentine’s Day Red Chili
Good Housekeeping, February 2010
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 large beets (6 to 8 oz. each), trimmed, peeled and chopped
1 jumbo red onion, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
 Fresh ground pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, crushed with press
1 can (28 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 ½ cup cooked or 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cup cooked or 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cup cooked or 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
1 cup reduced –fat sour cream
¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

1. In 7- to 8-quart Dutch oven or heavy saucepot, combine cumin, oregano, and chile powder. Cook on medium 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Transfer to sheet of waxed paper; set aside. In the same Dutch oven, heat oil on medium until hot. Add beets, onion, pepper, and freshly ground black pepper. Cook 15 minutes or until vegetable are tender, stirring occasionally.

2. Add garlic and reserved spice mixture. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, beans, and water. Heat to boiling on medium-high. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 30 minutes, stirring and mashing some beans occasionally. Makes about 9 cups (six servings). Divide among serving bowls and top with sour cream and cilantro.

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