It’s winter. Officially. Although, at times, it doesn’t quite feel like winter. Regardless, it’s the end of January, and I’m craving my warming and hearty (yet healthy) soups and stews and chilies. I won’t lie, with recent talk at the office of the Annual Chili Cook-off (I won last year!), my mind has been on creating a new chili to cook up for the big competition.
This past weekend, while doing some recipe testing with cauliflower…I decided to do something completely different and make some chili…from scratch.
This meant on Saturday afternoon, I had dry heirloom beans soaking in water on my counter top. When I do something…I do it right. Now…if you don’t have the time, patience, or a clue as to how to work with dry beans…no worries, this recipe will work with canned beans as well. Just use 2 cans of tri-blend beans and you will get similar results.
That being said…I wanted something smokey…with that true homestyle flair. So…instead of tomato sauce…this chili got the bbq sauce treatment. And I have some local, amazing bbq sauce on hand…lots of it in fact…so I got a little chefy and a little creative. And the result…left the people who tried it raving.
SO…I figured I would just go ahead and share the recipe with you!
Recipe: BBQ Bean Chili
1 sweet onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 (4 0z) can mild chiles
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 cup dry beans, soaked overnight (I used Epicurean Specialty Heirloom Bean Blend – which contains beans, peas & lentils)
1 cup bbq sauce (I used Masters Hand with Integrity [Medium])
Prep the beans. Place beans on a sheet pan or clean towel. Remove and discard any shriveled or broken beans and any stones or debris. Rinse thoroughly in cold water.
Soak overnight. Rinse and place in a large pot, covered with fresh water. Bring water to a boil for 3 minutes, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 60-90 minutes, until beans are tender. Reserve a cup of the cooking water.
Line a large pot with 1/4 cup water over medium heat.
Add onions, garlic, and chiles. Sauté until soft.
Add in chili powder, oregano, cumin and cayenne; stir for 2 minutes.
Mix in the cooked beans, 1/2 cup of the reserved bean cooking liquid and the bbq sauce. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat and simmer until theflavors blend and the chili thickens. About 20-30 minutes. I found I needed to a the rest of the bean water to get it to the texture I like…but vegetable broth would also work.
Garnish with a sliced avocado!
(Of course, you can garnish this however you like…sour cream, cilantro, grated cheese…but I love me a good, ripe avocado on top).
LOVED this chili from the first taste. It’s tangy, it’s got a kick to it, but it’s not overwhelming. Not only that, it’s warming and hearty…and healthy! How’s that for winning?
Go ahead, cook some up!! It freezes well, but, trust me, it may not be around long enough to need to hit the freezer!
My life is a roller coaster these days. Good days. Bad days. Highs and lows. There are days I feel unstoppable and days that stop me cold. There are days where I feel on top of the world, and days where the tears just won’t stop.
There are pain-free days…and days where it hurts just getting out of bed.
This is my life…and has been since February 16, 2015.
Almost a year.
Still not better. Still fighting. Still not where I imagined I’d be.
I’m going to be honest, I came out of the weekend, despite the slip and fall on ice, feeling good. My pain levels were down. I was moving without problems. And then…Tuesday hill repeats. UGH! JUST UGH!! I did fine, but when I stop that’s when the problems start. And despite a round of stretches my physical therapist assigned me, I was still feeling it yesterday and this morning when I worked in my training runs.
All that being said, I’ve powered through a lot, and despite my demanding work/training/recovery schedule…I’ve done some pretty amazing things so far this week. I thought I’d share!
1. THEMED SPIN CLASSES
Rocking perfect tights for a disco-themed spin class, yes?
My amazing and inspiring friend, Deana, is a very fun spin instructor. It’s always a mixed bag with her. And when you attend one of her classes, you are going to walk out of there a sweaty mess. She’s in training for her first Half Ironman, and we’re in training with her, in a way. At least on the stationary bike in the safety of the walls of the YMCA. HA!
Anyway, this week, Deana has had themed spin classes. And I am loving it. Monday morning, my 5:30 a.m. class was treated to Spinning to the ’90s. All the music was songs straight out of the 1990s…and I knew and even sang along with every single one of them. Not loudly, because, I wouldn’t put anyone through the torture of hearing me sing, but it really takes your mind off of that hill climb and definitely brought a lot of hoots and hollers from the class. And Friday morning, we’re getting a disco ball and having our own Disco Inferno all up in the spin room. And I am already working on what I intend to wear for said Disco day. There might even be a lava lamp. Regardless, I’ll be ready to work hard to the tune of the best disco songs.
Themed spin classes…who knew?!
2. HILL REPEATS
Love them or hate them…hill repeats are real. In fact, hill repeats are what my physical therapist currently wants me doing. So, every Tuesday, I’m out at either Cherokee Park or Iroquois Park here in Louisville…running me some major hill repeats. The past two weeks, I’ve knocked out 4 miles of hill repeats each Tuesday night. 4 freakin’ miles. To this point, that is the furthest I have run since…the stress fracture in my leg back in August.
I won’t lie…a little part of me panics every time I go out there for these. Hills do make you a stronger runner…but they hurt. In my case, they really hurt. But, I feel strong while doing them, and after some plyometric exercises and stretches…and a little TLC from my foam roller…I’m usually back in the game the next day. So yeah…hills. YAY!
I don’t worry about my time or how long I’m out there or even my speed. What’s important to me is that I am actually out and running again. Not completely pain-free…but being out there is SO much better than where I have been. I’ll take every chance I can get to attempt to get stronger again.
3. CHILI COOK OFF
So, yesterday was the annual chili cook off at my office. Now, I have never actually submitted a chili to this cook off because, prior to this year, the co-owner (who has since retired) used to always tell me not to bother with bringing in a vegetarian chili, since his wife was making one. I just never argued the fact. With this year being wide open, I got a little carried away and ended up making 2 chilies and 1 batch of my gluten free corn spoon bread recipe that I’ve killed every time I’ve made it. Meaning, it’s extremely awesome. When it comes to cooking, especially in a quasi-competitive manner, I can be pretty indecisive on what chili to make. So, I did what any chef would do…
…I made both.
Pizza Chili (which I figured would be my star) and Hawaiian Chili.
I realized I was splitting my odds at winning, but…I love both of these chilies and they were both very different. VERY different. Even from the other chilies (there were 7 entries…2 of which were mine) that were entered into the annual cook off.
And, shocking me (and probably the rest of the office who doesn’t always want to venture into my plant-based, gluten-free goodies)…I won. With…Hawaiian Chili. So not the chili that I expected to win. I was seriously surprised. Of the two I brought in, I thought Pizza Chili would be the more popular one. And it was a very near thing with the runner-up, a Mexican Beer Chili. The winning chili is pictured above with the corn spoon bread.
I am so happy. This is the first time a vegan/vegetarian chili has won. And it’s the first time I have won anything at work. So…YAY!!
I’ve had many requests for this recipe, so I will leave it here. Do try it. It’s amazing.
Recipe: Hawaiian Chili Makes 4 very large servings
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic clove, minced
2 bell pepper, seeded & diced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups pineapple, diced
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
Crackers (optional…to serve on the side)
Line a large pot with vegetable broth.
Sauté onions, garlic, and bell pepper until onions are translucent and bell peppers are soft.
Add spices, stir to coat vegetables.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Serve with crackers
Seriously…make this stuff.
If you live in the area…come to tomorrow’s 5:30 a.m. spin class at the YMCA of Southern Indiana in New Albany and let Deana bring the funk and disco back…disco ball included.