Like most cooks, I’m endlessly adapting recipes. Last night, I took a favorite recipe that I had already adapted to be fat-free and adapted it even more, this time to use a whole grain instead of the bulgur wheat originally called for. The results were satisfying, though more time-consuming.
The original recipe, from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, uses bulgur wheat to give the chili some “meatiness.” Since meatiness is not high up on my list of requirements for chili, I often leave it out of the recipe, and it tastes just as good, in my opinion. Last night I decided to replace the bulgur with hulled barley, which, unfortunately, takes longer to cook than bulgur. A lot longer. I’d forgotten just how long it took to cook: after letting the barley cook for about 20 minutes, I could see that it still needed at least 40 minutes more cooking time, so I decided to pop it into the pressure cooker to finish it off. After 10 minutes under pressure and 10 minutes waiting for the pressure to come down, the barley was finally cooked and I could proceed with the recipe at last.
So the recipe below assumes that you have cooked barley on hand. You could use pearled barley, which takes less time but is more processed. Or you use the bulgur–or go without. The hulled barley, in my opinion, tasted great, and gave the chili an interesting texture–not meaty at all, but firm, something to contrast with the softness of the beans. I’ll definitely use it again.
Red, Gold, Black And Green Chili
- 1/3 cup hulled barley, cooked in 2 cups water and drained, liquid reserved
- 3 cups canned diced tomatoes — undrained
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 cups chopped onions
- 3 cloves garlic — minced
- 1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 heaping teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce)
- 2 green bell peppers — chopped
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
- 1 1/2 cups (1 can) black beans, cooked and drained
- 1 1/2 cups (1 can) red kidney beans, cooked and drained
- salt to taste
- limes and baked tortilla chips, for serving
- Cook the barley beforehand. This can take upwards of a hour of regular, stove-top cooking, less if you pre-soak the barley overnight. To do it in a pressure cooker, cook unsoaked barley 20 minutes at high pressure and allow the pressure to come down naturally before removing the lid.
- Heat the 3 tbsp. water in a large saucepan. Sauté the onions until they are soft; then stir in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, Tabasco, and bell peppers and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and beans to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the corn and the drained barley, adding some of the barley cooking liquid if chili appears too dry. Cover and simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to meld. Add salt to taste.
- Serve with limes to squeeze on at the table and crunchy baked tortilla chips. (This makes about 4 very large or 6 average-sized servings.)
Preparation time: 30 minute(s) | Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Nutrition (per serving, based on 6, without tortilla chips): 266 calories, 13 calories from fat, 1.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 590.3mg sodium, 720.1mg potassium, 53.9g carbohydrates, 13.7g fiber, 11.5g sugar, 12.6g protein, 7.8 points.
And about those chips:
Baked Lime-Chipotle Tortilla Chips
- corn tortillas (about 2 per person)
- fresh lime juice
- chipotle chili powder
- salt (if desired)
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Using a sharp knife, cut each tortilla into 4 quarters (you can do this quickly by stacking them and cutting them at once).
- Place the tortilla pieces on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Brush the top of each chip with lime juice, and sprinkle with chili powder and salt (if desired). Bake, watching carefully, for about 7 minutes. Then, turn the chips over and bake for another 7-10 minutes, until they are crisp but not burned. Serve with the chili. (Please watch them carefully! Most of my first batch burned while I had my eyes on the chili.)
Preparation time: 5 minute(s) | Cooking time: 17 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 1
Nutrition (per serving): 116 calories, 11 calories from fat, 1.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 5.7mg sodium, 80.8mg potassium, 24.3g carbohydrates, 2.7g fiber, <1g sugar, 3g protein, 3.3 points.
This is a meal that most kids will love, and it’s a dish that I often serve to meat-eating guests. Enjoy it with a big green salad. It’s very warm and filling on a winter night.