Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Its An Almost Meatless Virtual Potluck ...

... and I'm bringing the chili ... an unusual and outrageously delicious chili to be exact!

Fasten your apron strings and dust off the good china, dear readers, because today you are in for a treat. Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond are throwing a virtual potluck in celebration of their marvelous new cookbook, Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and The Planet, and you're invited!

Today, more than 30 food writers, chefs, bloggers and food lovers from all across the web, will join together and present a dish they've cooked from Almost Meatless. I am thrilled and honored to be in their company.

When Joy Manning first reached out and asked me to "bring a dish", I knew exactly what I wanted to make: Beefed-Up Bean Chili. The reason? Peanut butter. I've been making chili for more years than I care to count ... yet never once has it included peanut butter. This one does. I was so intrigued by this unusual addition, I couldn't wait to try it. The results? Magnificent!

And, really, its not as odd as it seems. Peanuts are a legume, after all, and they pair beautifully with heat and spice. I'm here to tell you it works. It more than works. This chili is so richly spiced, its flavor so multi-layered, you'll be hooked from the first bite. We loved it! The husband went back for a second bowl immediately - and this from a dedicated carnivore. High praise, indeed.

Recipe preprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press and the authors.

Beefed-Up Bean Chili:
  • 1 dried ancho or guajillo chlii (I used ancho)
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 4 oz. lean ground beef
  • 1 small white onion cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsp. smooth natural peanut butter
  • one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • one 15 oz. can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • one 15 oz. can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • some chopped scallions, shredded cheddar, chopped red onion, chopped fresh parsley and or sour cream for garnish
Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the dried pepper and toast for 5 minutes, turning once or twice. Move the pepper to a bowl and cover it with hot water. Soak for about 15 minutes, to rehydrate and soften. Remove from the water, cut off the stem, scrape out the seeds and chop.

Add the oil to the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the beef for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to break it up into small pieces. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and rehydrated chile and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter and continue mixing until it melts. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, cocoa powder, cumin, chili powder, vinegar, 1/2 cup of water and beans. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with your choice of toppings; we like scallions, cheddar and sour cream.

Serves 4 to 6.

I served mine over some brown rice and topped it with shredded cheddar, diced red onions and chopped parsley. Its a hearty, healthy meal that I know I'll make again and again. Despite the small amount of meat in the chili, it has an incredibly beefy flavor that is sure to satisfy. And, if you are fully meatless, feel free to omit the beef and make a vegetarian version. The flavor will suffer not at all. I hope you'll try it!

And I hope you'll stop by the party and check out the other dishes as well. You can read the rest of the entries, once they're up, on Tara's site, Crumbs on my Keyboard, or on Joy's, What I Weigh Today. No doubt the feast will be spectacular.

The list of guests includes some of my favorite daily reads: Dan from Casual Kitchen, Charmian Christie from Christie's Corner, and Cheryl Sterman Rule from 5 second rule, as well as a host of others. Come hungry and stay late!

Many, many thanks to Joy and Tara for including me in this web-tacular event. I'm delighted to participate and very happy to recommend this book to you once again. Its a wonderful, healthy cookbook and so much more. Do yourself, and the planet, a favor and pick up a copy of Almost Meatless ... and a jar of peanut butter. You'll be happy you did.

Bon appetite!


Sarah Copeland said...

I absolutely love when I read something and instantly think, I wish I had written that. This line did exactly that for me, and prepared me for a delicious read: "Fasten your apron strings and dust off the good china, dear readers, because today you are in for a treat."

Heavenly Housewife said...

Hmmm, the housewife is intrigued!!! My chili is good, but I always think it could be better. I'll have to give this one a shot.

Christie's Corner said...

I love the spicing in this. My husband like his chili loaded with meat, but I'm going to give this recipe a try some night and see if he notices the reduction.

Thanks for the mention!

Anonymous said...

This is the most unique chili! I love the addition of peanut butter and I also noticed cocoa powder here too - neat! I would love to try this!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just wow. That looks and sounds amazing. You rock. :)

The Diva on a Diet said...

Sarah - Welcome to Beach Eats and thank you so much! You made my day!! :)

HH - the flavor profile in this one is incredible. Its complex and so very satisfying. Let me know how you like it!

Charmian - Great husbands think alike, um, or something like that. I didn't even try to slip this by mine, but I did tell him it was almost meatless ... he dove into it like crazy. I got more compliments than I knew what to do with ... I'll bet yours loves it too. Thank YOU for the mention and the reminder that I should have done likewise. :)

5 Star - Yes, so very unique! I typically put cocoa powder in my chili but the PB was a new one on me for sure. Combined with the ancho chile and the other spices ... it is divine.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Kimizzy - Thanks! I think you'd really like this! And it comes together so easily. Don't be put off by the list of ingredients, you can make it in just about an hour ... and enjoy it for the rest of the week. :)

The Duo Dishes said...

What! Peanut butter! That sounds so interesting. You need to bottle that and start shipping it.

pixelgal said...

Knowing as you do that a peanut butter maven I am I can only hope you thought of me when choosing this excellent looking recipe! Who'da thought of putting it in chili but I'm sure glad someone did. Can't wait to try it with or without the meat. I'll also leave out the jalapeno and be kind to my internal workings. Did you get a nice tan at the beach???

Donna-FFW said...

What an intriguing chili!! I would never have thought to use peanut butter AND cocoa in this.. Quite unique, bet it was terrific.

stephchows said...

A virtual potluck?? LOVE IT!!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Duo - it *was* interesting! I certainly wouldn't have thought of it myself, but I'm so glad I tried it. Will def. be making this one again.

Pixelgal - I'm nicely brown, but will probably fade soon since it appears that NYC will never have a day without rain! Looking to refresh the tan poolside at the Jericho this weekend! :)

Donna - it really was terrific. Nice to have some different options/recipes when making chili as well. Sometimes change is good! LOL

Steph - such good fun. I had a blast reading the other entries. :)

Tangled Noodle said...

What a great event! The hubs and I have really cut back on our meat consumption so dishes like this are great! I've a wee bit of a peanut allergy so I'll have to substitute another nut butter (cashew, perhaps?) but this recipe sounds absolutely delicious!