This delicious, hardy dish has flavors similar to chili, with the texture and consistency of a thick chowder. I love it! Top with avocado and/or Sour Un-Cream.
I have made this using both canned black beans and beans I made from scratch with the pressure cooker. As is usually the case, I preferred the version with the homemade beans. If you have a pressure cooker, it’s SO easy. Soak 1 pound of dried black beans overnight or 6 hours (some say soaking isn’t necessary but I always do). Rinse and place in your pressure cooker and add just enough water to cover the top of the beans – the water should be just touching the beans. Add 4 cloves crushed garlic, a few bay leaves and 2 tsp cumin seeds. Cook at high pressure 14 minutes, and let the pressure come down naturally. Beans are done! Makes about 5 cups of black beans. Remove the bay leaves, stir and add the whole batch to the rest of the Chili Chowder ingredients.
I order my dried beans online from Rancho Gordo, a farm in Northern California. They are heirloom beans, which are open-pollinated seeds that can be planted and you’ll get the exact same bean. They tend to have a lower yield and can be much more difficult to grow but the pay off is in the unique flavors and textures that you don’t find with bland commodity beans. They are always fresh too, which is great. You never know how old the beans at the grocery store are, and old beans can take forever to cook. I highly recommend Rancho Gordo beans. It’s fun to experiment with all the different varieties they offer. Now get cooking!
I needed something to eat for lunch and the red lentils in the pantry got my attention. I literally threw these ingredients together without a plan, and was SO happy with the result. It’s hard to believe something this easy could be so flavorful. It was so good in fact that I included the dish in an Indian themed feast I cooked this past weekend. It was a big hit along with the Indian Spiced Cabbage, Roasted Aloo (potatoes), brown basmati rice and whole wheat flat bread.
Red lentils are great because in addition to being extremely healthy and low-fat, they are quick-cooking. They can be used in sauces to add fiber and protein, or as the main ingredient along with a few others such as the recipe here. Unlike brown/green lentils they break down easily, blending in with whatever else is in the dish. They also end up being more yellow in color, even though they are called red and start out more of an orange color. At 140 calories per cup (dry), 0 grams of fat, 7 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein, red lentils are a great addition to the diet.
In this dish I used two different types of curry powder, but you don’t have to. Regular curry is the yellow/orange version you see in most stores. Different brands can taste different from each other, with some more mild than others. Madras curry is another type that is similar to regular but with more spice. Berbere curry is an Ethiopian version, that has a smokier scent/flavor and is much spicier than the others. Feel free to use whatever variety you have on hand, or a combination like I’ve done here. The measurements I used result in a mild dish. As I’ve said before, I’m a spice wimp.
One of my favorite restaurants Native Foods has an African Peanut Soup that I adore. It tastes very fattening though so I wanted to try and make something similar, but with less fat. As well, theirs is a very smooth soup and I prefer chunkier soups – I like chewing! This version is thick and chunky, while still being creamy. And this can vary depending on how much of it you want blended, using your immersion or regular blender. Feel free to play around with spices and amounts. Those listed here result in a mild flavor.
As much as I complain about not enjoying cold weather and shorter days, I must admit the food that is most often consumed during those months, i.e., soups and stews, is my most favorite! I made this soup in the crock pot recently on a rainy Saturday. Perfect! I really like lentils so a soup that calls for two kinds – even better!
The butternut squash I bought 2 weeks earlier was calling out to me, I could hear it (not really, but just work with me here). “How long are you going to let me sit here on the counter before I rot?” Okay! Okay! I’ll cook you! But then what should I do with you? Well, after I roasted it, I got the idea to cut into bite-sized pieces and make a stew. The squash and I were glad I did!
They do sell pre-cut squash which would save some time. Just sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast on parchment covered cookie sheet at 400 for 30 minutes . I think the roasted flavor adds to the stew, but you could just can add the squash to the pot and cook that way.
I’ve been sitting here racking my brain trying to think of what to write for my first blog post. I mean, let’s face it, bloggers are a dime a dozen these days. Actually, I don’t even want to refer to myself as a blogger. I blog. Occasionally. Posting recipes is the main goal here but I also want to share thoughts, tips, articles, and anything else I think you may find even the slightest bit interesting, as it relates to food and health (I won’t be sharing sad stories of my dog who’s lost her mind, how much I love my kid, my favorite TV shows or my thoughts on politics – no way, definitely not going there!) Some blog posts go on for what seems like days, resembling a journal or diary, with every thought in the author’s head no longer a mystery. I don’t want to replicate that here. I also don’t want to hammer you with posts 8 days a week. I know the marketing gurus would say it’s important to really put yourself out there, but who cares. Less is more, that’s how I see it. Bottom line is this: I love food, and what I know healthy food does for the body (from first-hand experience, as well as what is clearly shown in the scientific literature). Hopefully I can impart some of my passion and knowledge on to you! Following is one of my favorite recipes. Enjoy!
NOTE: Some brands of chipotle in adobo sauce contain a little wheat flour. Make sure to check the label. If you are on a strict gluten-free diet, use chipotle powder or chipotle hot sauce instead to make it officially gluten-free.