Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meal for one: black bean chili

I'm Sick. It sucks. I have a pretty good immune system so something like this hits maybe once every six months, maybe less. You know the kind - the sore throat that turns into sniffles that turns into that chest cough that won't go away. Yeah, fun. Today is my sick day. It is the day where I don't change out of my pajamas, where I get to be alone to sniffle and cough and fall asleep on the couch while watching The Biggest Loser.
The problem with being sick - especially when there is no one around to take care of you during the day - is that ultimately you get hungry. Hungry, not for peanut butter on toast or something that you could whip together out of leftovers in the fridge, but for REAL food. Comfort food. Chili.
But chili takes hours...right?
This is not the kind of chili you lovingly simmer for hours - it is the kind you throw together on the fly from stuff lying around, because simply nothing else will do. It's not the worlds best chili. But, hey, its pretty good, and it took about fifteen minutes to make.

half yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 can black beans, drained/rinsed
1 serrano pepper, minced and seeds removed
2 small heirloom tomatoes, chopped
spices to taste: cumin, coriander, ginger, hot chilli, tumeric, cumin seeds
spoonful of tomato paste
lemon wedge
roughly a cup of chicken stock

In a heavy saucepan, heat up some olive oil and add the onion. make a hole in the middle of the onions and add your spices - fry for about 30 seconds then mix with the onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
Add tomatoes and Serrano pepper, cook for a few minutes until tomato starts to break down. add spoonful of tomato paste and half the chicken stock. After a minute, add the beans.
simmer until the liquid is nearly gone and the onions are soft. Mash slightly with a potato masher to break up some of the beans, then add the other half of the chicken stock and stir.

when the chili is back up to temperature, serve. I like to season at the end with juice from a lemon wedge, maybe some cilantro or extra cayenne mixed in at the end. Spicy food is great for stuffy heads.

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