Monday, February 28, 2011

An Experiment - Meatless Monday

One thing I really miss about having Dave here is that he cleans up after me when I cook. He somehow manages to get my mess into the dishwasher.  When he's not here, the kitchen looks like it was attacked by a pack of rabid weasels covered in tomato sauce and cilantro stems.

Since I was on my own for dinner, I made an experiment.  Part of the reason I started this blog was to inspire myself to create my own recipes instead of always relying on cookbooks and things I find online. I like to make vegetarian meals a few times a week.  I made a "chili" out of the can of red kidney beans I've had in the pantry for a while.  My first instinct was to use ALL the spices!  Chili powder! Paprika (all 3 kinds)! Oregano!  Cardamom! About fashion accessories, Coco Chanel said "before you walk out the door, take one thing off."   I decided to keep it simpler.  I made enough for one very generous serving, and I didn’t measure things.  But, I’m writing this down as a 2 serving recipe for ease of use.

 I expected the result of my experiment to be edible enough that I wouldn't have to toss it and send out for Chinese.  I was shocked that it was actively good!  In addition to kidney beans, I added a chopped jalapeno and a few forkfuls of pimentos from a jar.  The pimentos are a little sweet, which went nicely with the chili powder and paprika.   I think I got the spice blend right, but in the future I would use a little less chili powder.  It was the right amount of spice until I was about 3/4 done with my bowl, and then it started being a little too much for me. It's not "real" chili, but it's a hearty soup that doesn't take very long to make. 

Kidney Bean "Chili"
Concocted by Scienter
Serves 2

Ingredients: (approximately, I didn't measure)
3 tbsp butter, divided into 1 tbsp and 2 tbsp chunks
1/8 cup flour
2 tsp chili powder (I used medium hot and a few extra dashes of Ancho chili powder)
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 14 oz kidney beans, canning liquid reserved
1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained (You'll probably only use 1/2 the can, save the rest for a later use or try to find a smaller can, I couldn't).
1/2 cup low sodium veggie broth
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup of the canning liquid from the beans
1/2 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 4 oz jar of pimentos
2 or 3 scallions, thinly sliced
A hard grating cheese like grana padano or Parmesan.

1) Heat 1 Tbsp of butter in a small pan and saute onions for 5 minutes.  Put them in a bowl and set aside.
2) In a pot, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp butter over moderately low heat.  When it's melted, whisk in flour, chili powder, paprika, and chipotle.  Whisk constantly for 3 minutes. 
3) Add veggie broth, canning liquid, and milk.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Let it simmer and thicken for 5 minutes. 
4) Add beans, about a 1/2 can of the tomatoes, jalapeno, onions, and half the jar of pimentos (use a fork to minimize the pimento liquid going into the pan). 
5) Let the chili simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6) Taste the chili and see if you need more spices.  I added more paprika, salt, and pepper.
7) Serve with a little grated cheese and the scallions

In the future, I think I would use grated cheddar instead of a hard grating cheese, I didn't have any on hand.  I wrote to drain the tomatoes in the recipe because I didn't do it, and thought that the broth could have been a little less tomatoey.  If I had some cilantro to sprinkle on, I'd use that too, perhaps instead of the scallions. 


Michelle said...

All right, culinary offroading! I so approve. :D

weirdcombos said...

This sounds like an adventure that went right. Good idea to edit a bit on the spices.

Scienter said...

Welcome, weirdcombos! Your blog looks really fun! I'm a bit of a wine nut myself, though it's my husband who has become a bit of a scientist when it comes to matching wine with food. In the past, I've tended to over spice. Either I'd add way too much of one spice or try to use a ton of different spices all at once. Now I start with a little and taste my food a lot.


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