01 November 2010

Baby, It don't matter if you're black or white

I have vivid memories of that Michael Jackson song being played at the skating rink when I was small - and me not understanding it AT ALL. By small, I mean around 8 years old. I really had no idea, I don't think.

A few months ago, I got together with some girlfriends for a recipe swap. We started talking about cookbooks we have come to love.

One of my favorite people with whom to cook and talk food, my dear friend Calen said that she found this particular cookbook to be really great. It's called The Ultimate Southern Living cookbook. Well, Calen is a great cook and very discriminating with her praise, so when she says something is great, I say "Where do I get it?"
I googled. Some seller on Amazon had it for 3 dollars.
I purchased.
A 3 dollar cookbook that your almost-as-snobby-as-you-are friend says is great is a pretty dern good deal.

And then, last week, this friend and I were going to make two pots of chili. She was doing traditional, and I was going to do a white bean. I asked her if she knew of a good one, and she once again pointed me to this book.

The recipe in the book is a chicken and white bean chili, but we were on the prowl for a vegetarian option, so I knew I had to mess with it a bit.

Both of our chili selections were hits, if I do say so myself on behalf of both of us, and so I offer this recipe here for

Michael Jackson Chili

Soak, at least overnight, up to 24 hours,
1 lb of Great Northern Beans

Chop finely
2 medium onions and saute them in
1 T of hot olive oil
over medium high heat for 5-10 minutes, until tender.

2 7oz cans of chopped green chiles,
6 cloves garlic minced,
2 1/2 t ground cumin,
1 1/2 t ground oregano.

Cook two minutes, stirring constantly.

6 cups of chicken broth
(or veggie broth - depending on the strictness of any vegetarian guests - if you do veggie broth, you may want to up all seasonings a bit.)

[A note on chicken broth: Don't buy the canned stuff. It's always a waste of money, often over salted and under flavored, and sometimes gives a hint of a metallic taste. Either make your own (I know...I know...but it is true greatness, and I do it sometimes), or just buy decent bullion cubes and make it up. Although it's no higher quality than the canned variety, it is fresher tasting, never metallic, and so very much cheaper. Buy a giant thing of bullion cubes at Sam's, or if you are not lucky enough to hold a Sam's club membership, call me, and I'll get a giant thing for you. It's what I use for every ounce of chicken broth save the rare and precious homemade variety that I do bring myself to making about once every four months or so]

Anyway. Add the broth. And the soaked beans. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 2-3 hours until beans are tender, stirring occasionally.

After simmered thoroughly, add
5 cups black beans
(either soaked and cooked until tender or canned, drained and rinsed thoroughly - I used 2 large cans of black beans, and it was a good amount - I forget the exact ounces on the cans, but I'd like to say 22...).

2 cups freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese
. Yes, I did just instruct freshly grating, but I've started doing it to most of my cheese, and it really, really does make a difference. It melts into perfection so much better, and if you just start doing it, it begins to feel like much less of a burden after just a couple of weeks - just becomes part of your normal prep process.

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt,
1/3 cup cilantro.

Simmer until heated through.

Serve with any or all of these optional toppings:

Red onion chopped
Corn chips
More Monterrey Jack
Sharp Cheddar
Green Onions chopped
More Cilantro

No comments:

Post a Comment