Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Food #4: Superbowl Chili

There's no real reason to call this Superbowl Chili except I've made it for a superbowl party once or twice and will again on Sunday. The original had chicken, and I'll include that version below, but I usually make it this way now, veggie-friendly. I actually came in second in a chili cook-off with this once, and won a waiver of the parent association dues at Mariah's school that year. Score!

Chili Blanco

1 pound white beans (navy beans or great northerns are fine), rinsed
6-7 cups veggie stock
2 onions, chopped
1 tbl oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
7 oz can diced green chilis (you can add two if you like, and some jalapenos might be good if you like things spicier than I do)
2-3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less, according to taste)
1 cu sour cream
3 cu shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I have used 2 cu pepper jack and 1 regular, or all regular, depending on what was available)

Cook beans and stock for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. (Don’t presoak the beans.) When the beans are almost done, saute garlic and onions in oil until golden. Add onion, garlic, chilis, cumin, oregano, and cayenne to beans. Simmer 30 minutes longer. Add sour cream and cheese. Heat slowly, without boiling, until cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I think I usually end up adding some extra water or stock at some point, and I’m never quite sure whether to cook the beans with the top on or off. The last time it was off, then I put it on during the last 30 minutes, after adding the onion & garlic, etc. If you start with shredded cheese—and chop the onion in the food processor—this is really really simple.

If you want to make it with chicken, use water (or, I suppose, chicken stock) instead of veggie stock, and put two chicken breast halves (with skin and bones) in with the beans at the start. When the beans are tender, remove the meat from the bones and shred it, then add it back in when you are adding the onions, etc. Either way is good.


Susan said...

I have a question on this bean thing. Are soaked dried beans truly superior to beans-in-a-can? Can you tell the difference? I'm so lazy. I can never get it together to do anything hours ahead of time. Will it make a big difference? Or can I just use a bunch of canned white beans?

caroline said...

Oh, thanks for posting this recipe! I'd forgotten about it (forgotten about the Super Bowl, too; maybe I"ll make this Sunday myself), and it's so delicious.
For what it's worth, I don't think dried beans are superior, just marginally more expensive and (sometimes) more salty. This recipe comes together pretty quickly for a dried bean recipe, but I bet it'd still work with canned.

Libby said...

Wait, Caroline, you think dried beans are more salty? I think they're less so (and actually, I think that's what you mean). They're also less mushy, which may or may not be a plus. I think it's worth using dried myself...

Susan said...

Here's a vegi recipe (with canned beans) that I had at a friend's house years ago, and just loved.

Chile con Tofu (from Runners' World)

1 onion chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 t olive oil
1 19 oz can each -- pinto, kidney & white beans
1/2 t salt
1 green pepper chopped
3 med. carrots sliced
16 oz firm tofu, drained & crumbled
1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1/2 -2 T powdered chile
1 T cumin

Saute onion, pepper, garlic over medium heat. Add tofu & saute till crisp & lightly browned. Add the rest, reduce heat & simmer 50-60 mins.

caroline said...

Ooops, yeah, I meant _canned_ beans are more expensive & more salty.

claudia said...

Thanks for the veggie recipe. I used to soak and cook dried beans before children. Now, it's worth the nominal extra cost to save the 500 hours it takes to soak and cook them correctly, I think. Plus, if you rinse them in a collander before adding them to a meal, you eliminate some of the salt. You can also not add extra salt to the recipe. I go for quick homecooked meals these days and canned beans are a godsend. Plus, my kids will eat them naked, right out of the can.

Libby said...

True enough, Claudia. I make a lot of recipes with canned beans, don't get me wrong. And I almost never do the presoaking thing. (Though it's said that that can reduce the --um-- beany-ness of the beans.) This is really one of the few bean recipes I make that I start from dried (and, notice, they don't soak beforehand). So, I take it back: I'm sure it would be fine with all canned beans, folks. Probably worth buying organic since they are less mushy and salty, but no biggie there, either. Frankly, I've never figured out the right ratio of beans to other stuff in this one if you start with canned, but I'm sure it could work nicely. Start with the onion/garlic sauteing part, and go from there. Dump the "juice" from the cans, rinse the beans, and add a little stock or water if you want to moisten it up a bit. Voila! Even quicker and easier!