Why hello there. Remember me? The whisk-wielding habitually hungry gal who used to ramble on about the allure of raw brownies and the sex appeal of kale? Yes, I remember her too. She’s back, baby. After high-tailing it into the shadowy hills of corporate America (the updating of this blog oh-so-coincidentally ceasing upon Day One of being a REAL adult aka being a gainfully employed college graduate), I am back. My last update… August of 2011. Yikes. How I wish there was a WordPress feature allowing me to switch off publication dates, thus allowing me to cover my deserter tracks.
I have been around the world and back this past year and a half. Both figuratively and literally. I have been blessed with an astoundingly exciting, creative job which I slipped into mere days after receiving my Bachelor’s degree. Since then, I have wandered the streets of Shanghai, Beijing, Wuxi, Guangzhou, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Rome and London, after wrapping up my meetings for the day. Habitually hungry. Habitually curious. Always missing my kitchen but never being home in Chicago long enough to justify the leftovers a full-sized recipe would garner. But enough excuses. It’s time to get back into the kitchen!
Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash & Quinoa
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 purple onions, chopped
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons chili powder (I prefer HOT)
3 chipotle chilies, from canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano (regular will do)
2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes
1 pound dried black turtle beans* (or 4 14.5-ounce cans of pre-cooked, drained & rinsed)
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 2 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
Chopped red onion
Chopped cilantro leaves
Canned jalapeno slices
*Or regular black beans if you can’t find any. Black turtle beans pack more flavor and a creamier texture. I order mine from the desert hippie heaven, Native Seed, in Tuscon, AZ.
1.) Grab your trusty ol’ Dutch Oven and heat your olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until browning and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, coriander and chili powder, stirring constantly. Be sure to distribute the spices evenly over the onions, using your wooden spoon to badger any clumps of spices into compliance.
2.) Add the chiles, oregano and beans, stirring to coat. Then, add 10 cups of water and bring to a boil. Leaving the lid slightly ajar, reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 1/2-2 hours, depending on your beans. Stir in salt and pepper.
3.) Stir in squash and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Then, add quinoa and continue simmering for 15 more minutes, until squash fork-tender and the quinoa has released its little curly q’s (a fool-proof sign it is done). Sample your fiery pot of wintry beans and squash, seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary.
4.) To serve, pass around bowls of sliced purple onion, freshly chopped cilantro, canned jalapeno rings and, of course, hot sauce.