Friday, February 15, 2013

Smokey Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

I tend to think of food as it relates to the weather, and it continues to be soup and chili weather here in the Denver area.  It just feels warm and cozy inside when the house is filled with wonderful aromas.  I've made this Vegan Smokey Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili, found on Food52, several times and it's always a hit.
Smokey Black Bean And Sweet Potato Chili
Serves 6
    1 1/2 cup dried black beans
    4 Cups sweet potato, diced into 3/4 inch cubes
    1 Tb olive oil
    2 Cups chopped white or yellow onion
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 chipotle pepper en adobo, chopped finely
    2 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp smoked paprika
    1/2 Tb ground chili powder
    1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
    2 Cups vegetable broth (and more as needed)
    sea salt to taste
    1/4 cup chives, snipped into small pieces
    1 large avocado

Soak the black beans in water for 8 hours, or overnight.  Drain and place in a large pot, add water to cover them by a few inches.  Bring beans to a boil and lower to a simmer.  Cook till beans are tender, about 1 hour.  Drain and set them aside.
Heat the tablespoon of oil in a dutch oven or a large pot.  Saute the onion for a few minutes, then add the sweet potato and garlic.  Keep cooking until the onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
Add the chili en adobo, the cumin, the chili powder, and the smoked paprika.  Heat until the spices are very fragrant.  Add the can of tomatoes and 1 cup of vegetable broth.
When broth is bubbling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are totally tender.  Add the black beans after 10 minutes of cooking.  As you go along, you can continue to add the remaining cup of vegetable broth as is needed.  Season to taste with salt.  Turn off the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes.  If you are so inclined, top each bowl with some fresh avocado slices and chives.
This awesome Pesto-Spinach Muffin recipe is from Jonathan Melendez at  Loaded with some of my favorite ingredients: pesto, spinach and mozzarella, these muffins are still satisfying days later.  I strayed a little from the recipe, since I was also working on the afore mentioned pot of chili, I opted for a cup of ready made pesto.  You can find the original recipe on Jonathan's site.

Pesto-Spinach Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 C spelt flour
1 Tb baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs, beaten
2/3 C olive oil
1 C milk
1 10-12 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 C shredded mozzarella 
1 C pesto  
    Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a standard 12 muffin pan with melted butter or cooking spray and set aside.
    To make the batter: in a large bowl, stir or sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, and milk.  Stir in the thawed and squeezed-dried spinach into the wet ingredients.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the spinach mixture into the center.  Fold the batter until evenly moistened. 
    The batter will be slightly lumpy.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the pesto and mozzarella just until evenly distributed.  Some streaks of pesto may remain, that will give the muffins color.  Fill the muffin cups level with the rim.  Bake until golden brown, dry, and springy to the touch, about 20-25 minutes.  Rotate the pan halfway through baking to ensure evening browning.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. 

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