Though the sun does seem to be getting warmer and days are certainly longer, it’s been unseasonably cold this spring. There’s nothing like chili and cornbread to bring some heat and comfort to a cold raw week. The recipes below include soaked beans and grains to improve digestibility and increase nutrition availability. Both require some brief set-up the night before, so plan ahead!
Cornbread: I like mine crispy on the outside and moist on the inside! Sometimes I add sage or poultry seasoning for a herb-y twist, or grated parmesan for a deep savory flavor.
-Mix, cover, and let sit for 12+ hours at room temperature: 3/4 cup yogurt, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup freshly ground whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup white flour
…12 hours later…
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees
-Mix dry ingredients: 1 1/2 cup masa harina (corn flour treated with lime), 2 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt
-Warm in sauce pan: 1/4 cup melted butter and 3 tablespoons honey
-Mix wet ingredients: make sure butter mixture is not too hot and mix in 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels. Add in soaked yogurt flour mixture and mix.
-Grease a large iron skillet with butter or bacon grease
-Mix wet and dry ingredients. Don’t over stir. Plop into greased skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a fork can be poked into the center and comes out clean.
Chili: This is a very flexible recipe! We love it because we can use so many frozen and canned veggies from last summer’s garden. It’s always fun to tweak based on ingredients you have in your fridge or freezer. Here’s our basic method:
-Soak about 1-2 cups kidney beans with plenty of water and a pinch of baking soda. Remember that the beans will expand in size, so make sure you have plenty of water and a big enough vessel.
…12+ hours later (if much later, rinse and add fresh water mid-way through)…
-Drain and rinse beans. Add to pot and add water until beans are completely submerged. Cook on medium-low heat until beans are tender (usually around 1 to 2 hours).
-In a separate pan, sauté 3 chopped onions in butter. When cooked through, add 6-8 cloves diced garlic. Cook for a few minutes longer. Set aside in a bowl.
-In the same pan, cook 1 lb. ground beef. Once the meat is cooked through, add 2 tablespoons chili powder and 1 teaspoon cumin. Combine spiced meat and sauteed veggies in a large pot. Add two quarts canned tomatoes, 1 cup sweet corn kernels, 1 cup chopped bell peppers, diced hot peppers to taste, and a splash of olive oil. We use peppers and corn frozen from the previous growing season. All sorts of other veggies can be added depending on what you like and what you have on hand! This is also a good time to add in your beans if they are cooked through and soft.
-Bring to boil, and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes. More time will allow the flavors to blend together and some of the water to evaporate making a thicker stew. Add salt, pepper, and more spices to taste. Chili powder can lose flavor if old, so don’t hesitate to add a lot if you’re not tasting it!