Homegrown Chili

Homegrown Everblossom chili ingredients

Homegrown Everblossom chili ingredients

This is the most locally produced chili I could possibly imagine – thanks to my family. My Dad raised the beef, my sister the beans, garlic, tomatoes, chili pepper, onion and kale. My husband’s grandpa’s farm grows the corn and roasts the corn meal for the sweet corn muffins I serve with it. Put together with a half-decent recipe, it makes for a chili better than good. If I think too much about it, the effort put forth to make that meal is astounding, and I’ll get sappy and perhaps attach more meaning to hamburger and beans than is deserved. On the other hand, I can’t help but believe that when so many people work so hard to perfect their product, you can’t help but taste that difference.

I used a mix of Elaine’s dried black beans and cranberry beans. Please note that the cranberry beans take extra time to soften and you may want to cook those separately ahead of time. Cooking them ahead would greatly reduce the time it would take to simmer the combined chili. In a slow cooker, I cooked the beans all together in the chili and it just took a bit longer for it all to be ready — after I soak the beans and brown the beef, I allow everything to simmer in a slow cooker, 4 hours on high and 2 on low.

1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1 quart whole tomatoes and their juice, chopped roughly or squished with your hands
2 cups beans, black and cranberry beans, pre-soaked
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 dried chili, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
1 bunch kale, chopped small

Saute the onion, garlic and beef until browned. Don’t drain it and transfer all of it to the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes and their juice.

squishing the tomatoes

squishing the tomatoes

 

Add the beans and all the spices – below, Ava presents a mix of pre-soaked cranberry beans and black beans.

Ava and the beans

Ava and the beans

 

Chop the kale very small if you want to hide it from others who do not understand. I used the curly kale. When cooked, it becomes impossible to detect and gives a huge vitamin boost to your chili!

the incredibly vanishing kale

the incredible vanishing kale

Cook together in the slow cooker until the beans are tender to chew, approximately 4 hours on high and 2 hours on low. As I mentioned, the cranberry beans will take longer because they are bigger and firmer.

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Black Bean Tortilla Pie

Tortilla Pie with Everblossom Black Beans

Tortilla Pie with Everblossom Black Beans

My dear Audrey says this is the best Shepherd’s Pie she’s ever had. Like her, it is a sweet and spicy delight. You could also call it a Mexican lasagna with tortilla’s instead of noodles. Everblossom Farm’s dried beans are the star of this show. To prepare them for the recipe, rinse and drain a few times to clean the beans well. Then put them in a crock pot, cover with water and cook them on high for 4 hours. I had to cover with water a few more times as they exxxppaaannnnd greatly – 4 cups of dried beans grew to 7 cups of soft beans. You want to cook them until you can squish them with your fingers under pressure.

Serve this with your lovely Everblossom greens and a little sour cream. Vamos!

1 1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
16 ounces (2 cups) tomato sauce
16 ounces (2 cups) Everblossom black beans (rinsed and pre-cooked)
1 cup whole kernel sweet corn
3 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
6 10-inch flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown beef and onion in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add tomato sauce, beans and corn; mix well. Stir in all of the spices except the red pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes and add red pepper if desired.

Spread 1/2 cup of beef mixture on the bottom of a greased 13×9 casserole dish, or I like to use a round foil pan as pictured (because the tortillas are round). Top with 3 tortillas, overlapping as needed (or just stacked up in the round foil dish). Layer with 1/2 of the remaining beef mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beef and cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

This dish freezes very well and I have always made at least two at a time to save one in the freezer.