Getting outside early the other morning, I found the most beautiful frosty leaves on our lawn and in our gardens. The air was so crisp and as Sprout Sara and I drove off for our weekend foodie adventure, the mists were rising off the area lakes and ponds. If I hadn't been on a strict timetable to get us to Newmarket on time, I'd have stopped in several locations to try to capture the beauty with my camera, but alas, we drove on and just marveled at the sights - wispy streams of steamy fog rising off the water and the sunshine coming through the bright golds and deep browns of the beech and oak trees ...
It has continued to be chilly in the mornings and the temperature has struggled to get over 55 degrees F. Brrr! That being said, cold weather and holidays just around the corner inspired me to make a 'clear the pantry shelf' meal last evening. All these soups and stews that I've been seeing in the blogsphere have given me a yen for a bowl of chili. To boot, SB really enjoyed the cheese bread that I made at Sandra Tarbox's house, so I decided to use her recipe for bread and a lightened up recipe for chili that I found in a Cooking Light magazine to make us a nice, warm and cozy supper.
This kind of a recipe really is perfect for the time of year when you're starting to set aside space in your cupboards for special holiday ingredients. I always clear out some of the canned beans, tomato products, mushrooms, and prepared soups so that I can make room for canned pumpkin, evaporated and condensed milk, artichokes, cranberry sauces, canned peaches, etc that I used in Thanksgiving and holiday party dishes.
No matter how often I wish that the cupboards were magically deep and full of room, they always have that set amount of space. So ... I make chili or vegetable stew, or pizzas or minestrone soups and that clears the way, so to speak.
This latest version of chili was easy, fast, and relatively spicy ... a nice surprise, given the small amount of chili powder I used. It must have been the little red chili pepper that lifted the 'hot' factor to the nice level! SB and I had yogurt and cilantro topping the chili bowls and warm bread ... cold beer for SB and a nice glass of red wine for me ... what a nice Sunday supper. And then, it was time to go watch the Red Sox even up the World Series against the Cardinals. Go Red Sox! It may be cold in New England, but you guys are red hot ... keep it up!
adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light One-Dish Meals
2 tsp. canola oil
1 c. chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
7 oz. link of turkey sausage cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper
1 small red hot chili pepper, half the seeds and veins removed, minced
1 bay leaf
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. chicken broth
a 28 oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes, chopped and with their juices
a 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
a 15 oz. can of pinto or red beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. flour
½ c. chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp. black pepper
Greek yogurt for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Making the Chili:
- Heat a deep heavy pan and add the canola oil and onions. Cook the onions until they wilt and glisten. Then, add the garlic and sausage pieces and cook for a minute or two.
- Stir in the peppers, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and continue cooking for a minute to release the spices’ scent and oils.
- Add the tomatoes, beans, bay leaf, and 1 cup of the broth. Bring the mix to a boil, stirring often.
- Lower the heat and cover the pan … simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Mix the flour, black pepper, and the remaining chicken stock to make a paste.
- Stir the paste into the chili and let it thicken up. Add the cilantro and stir it through.
- Remove the bay leaf and spoon the chili into warm bowls, dollop the top with Greek yogurt and sprinkle on more cilantro for garnish and serve with a good bread.
Herbed Cheese Loaf
an adapted recipe from W.M The Compleat Cook, 1658
Makes one round loaf
1 tbsp. yeast and a pinch of sugar
¼ c. warm water (109 ° F)
1 c. cottage cheese
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. canola oil or melted butter
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Kosher salt
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
⅛ tsp. ground ginger
½ c. whole wheat flour
1 ¼ c. all purpose flour
2 tbsp. fresh chopped chives
1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
Pinch of poppy seeds for top of loaf
Making the Bread:
- Place a pinch of sugar in the measure of warm water and swirl the glass as you sprinkle on the yeast. Let the mixture proof for about 5 minutes until it is foamy.
- Meanwhile place the cottage cheese, milk, oil, nutmeg, ginger, sugar, salt and egg in a saucepan and warm it to about 80° F, whisking it lightly to break up the egg.
- Add the yeast mixture to the warm milk and cheese mixture. And set aside for a minute.
- Whisk the flours together in a deep bowl. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon to make a shaggy dough.
- Form the dough up to make a ball, cover the bowl with a damp towel and put the bowl somewhere warm. Let the dough rise for at least one hour.
- When the dough has doubled, turn the dough onto a floured surface, rub your hands up with some flour and knead the parsley and chives into the dough gently several times to form a round dough ball.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper in a baking bowl or pie plate and place the dough ball in the center of the paper. Cover loosely and place in a warm spot to rise for about 30 minutes …
- Preheat your oven to 450 ° F. When the dough has doubled, sprinkle the top with poppy seeds and place the pan in the oven (center rack)
- Immediately lower the heat to 375 ° and bake the bread for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove when the loaf sounds hollow when rapped with your knuckle.
- Serve warm with herbed butter or hummus spread or a savory jam.