I have embraced it: summer is over. I love this time of year. Windows open, crisp mornings, leaves unraveling their colors, pumpkin patches, wrapped up in a blanket couch cuddling. But, I wasn’t ready for it this year. Life has been busy…good busy…but BUSY. The summer raced by and I found myself on the other end of it, greeting autumn with
full on denial slight hesitation. I’ve tried a half dozen PSLs (I know, but admit it– you long for them each year too…). I tossed a scarf around my neck. Nothing. I just wasn’t feeling it. But, if there is one thing I look forward to this time of year… it is certainly an autumn menu. I knew transition would find me there. Soups, chilis, roasted roots, squashes and pumpkins, apple pies and homemade breads, a house full of fresh-baked scents, spices and cinnamon. This is the time of year when menus get cozy. This is when comfort food is less a guilty pleasure and more just something you sink into with complete abandon. Because.You.Can…
I am adoring Dana Shultz’, aka the Minimalist Baker’s, Everyday Cooking. What’s not to adore about simple, healthy, creative cooking?… She brings butternut squash, kale and quinoa together in a gorgeous combination. But, there’s an earthy richness with the onions, mushrooms and walnuts that really weave all the ingredients together. Bright pops of color and a texture you can sink your teeth into. This dish did it for me. It’s fall and I’m embracing it.
If you’re looking to serve up a side of autumn, this recipe is for you.
- 3 cups butternut squash, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons grape seed oil, divided
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces crimini, button or baby bella mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 3 cups loosely packed kale, chopped
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (or vegan parm), divided
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Lightly grease an 8×8-inch (or comparable size) baking dish and preheat oven to 400°.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add cubed butternut squash and toss with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until fork-tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While the squash is baking, rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer. Add to small saucepan with vegetable broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until liquid is fully absorbed and quinoa is fork-tender (15-20 minutes). Once quinoa is finished cooking, season with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper and half of the vegan Parmesan cheese. Stir, sample and adjust seasonings to taste. Remove from heat and leave covered.
- Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion and garlic. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent (about 4 - 5 minutes) stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and walnuts and season once more with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly browned.
- Make room in the pan and add kale. Season once more with a good pinch of salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Cook until kale is just tender (about 3 - 5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375 and add cooked quinoa to prepared baking dish. Top with vegetable-walnut mixture and roasted butternut squash. Lightly stir to combine. Top with remaining vegan Parmesan cheese and bake uncovered for 10 minutes to warm through. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep covered for up to 3 days.
Sometimes it’s hard to decide what’s more perfect: a weekend morning strolling the farmer’s market or the post-market creations… Life is full of hard choices. But, making this tomato galette should not be one of them… Galette’s are so easy, so versatile, so lunch, brunch, dinner with a side salad, served hot, cold…so midnight snack.
This galette recipe caught my eye on Bloglovin. Tomatoes, goat cheese, thyme …and honey. Oh honey, does this ever magically come together with the honey. I had no idea why the author of Wry Toast spent so much time talking about the honey in this recipe. Until.I.Tried.It… Savory, sweet, the richness of the goat cheese, tangy tomatoes, and the honey unifies the flavors in a unique and delightful way. Do you have those dishes you just want to bury your face in? This is it.
This galette was lovingly filled with yellow, orange and red tomatoes I picked up from the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market this weekend. Ahhh, a tomato rainbow. I felt like their beauty deserved to be framed, wrapped in love. What better than a galette. Summer’s gift in a light and crispy pastry. Now, that’s a gift worth giving.
Bon appetit mon amour….
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sugar
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 4 shallots, diced (approximately 1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 – 4 heirloom or variety of tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Start first by preparing the dough. Using a cheese grater, grate the butter into a small bowl and freeze for 10 minutes. While butter freezes, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the cold grated butter into the flour mixture until a mealy texture forms, then slowly add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough takes shape. Form the dough in a ball, transfer to a lightly floured surface, and shape into a flattened round. Tightly wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes until the dough is firm and cold.
- While the dough chills, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the diced shallots until lightly caramelized (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly sprinkle with flour. With a floured rolling-pin, roll out the chilled dough into a 1/8″ thick round and transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet. It's easiest to transfer the dough by rolling it onto the pin and then lifting it onto the baking sheet.
- Crumble the goat cheese over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 2-inch border along the edges. Drizzle a heavy serving of honey over goat cheese (don't be shy), then evenly top with caramelized shallots.
- Next, season the sliced tomatoes with salt & pepper and layer over the goat cheese and shallots. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and, finally, sprinkle with fresh thyme.
- Fold the 2-inch border of the dough over the edges of the tomatoes, then brush the crust with beaten egg.
- Bake the galette for 45-60 minutes until the crust is golden and the tomatoes have begun to char.
- Cool for a few minutes before serving.
The Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market is a lively spot! I’ve been meaning to visit and decided today was the day! I love Dupont. It’s quirky and fun. Now one more reason to go: the FARMFRESH farmer’s market …and it’s year round. Year round! During the peak season, there are more than 50 farmers with fruits and vegetables, pastured meat, poultry and eggs, cheeses, baked goods, fresh pasta, pickled everything, jams, locally roasted coffee, local beers, wood-fired pizza, dumplings, soups and sandwiches, cut flowers, soaps, and so much more. Did I mention the Red Basil and Tarragon infused lemonade? Ohyesplease…
The Dupont Farmer’s Market is held on Sundays, 8:30 am to 1:30 pm (Apr through Dec) and Sundays, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (Jan through Mar). Get out there!
Getting to the Dupont Farmer’s Market is surprisingly easy. The Dupont metro stop drops you right in the center of the market. I gathered up the courage to drive into the city and was pleasantly surprised with the parking situation. Parking is free in the city on Sundays.
Eat your fruits and veggies…
Dupont Circle: a vibrant city space.
There’s a running list of recipes that scrolls through my head. There’s a lot of chatter up there. Thank gawd much of it is food related. This is one of those recipes I’ve waited a long time to make. Suddenly, it became one of those “must make now” recipes. Detour on the drive home from work. In Whole Foods snatching up sweet potatoes, cilantro, limes, tahini, chickpeas with all too much enthusiasm.
I burst through the door, straight into the kitchen, cranked up my fave Pandora channel (ohhh you love Chill Loungers Radio too?!), and got right to work. Don’t stop, won’t stop, oh no…forgot to take pictures…last ditch smartphone shot right before serving. Close call. Glad I can give you a little Samsung Galaxy 4 kickin-it-old-school snap.
This is one of those dishes that highlights what I love about cooking. Simple to make; perfect mix of flavors; separate components of a dish that stand alone wonderfully, but come together perfectly; results exceed expectations. What’s not to like…?
So, in a string of “I’m not vegan” vegan recipes: Just.Make.This.One.
Another beautiful recipe from a favorite website, The First Mess.
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 teaspoons olive or coconut oil
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce or other hot sauce
- 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1 lime, juiced (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce or other hot sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons water (to thin sauce after mixed)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- Sesame seeds
- Sriracha sauce
- Lime wedges
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking dish with 2-inch sides with parchment paper. Set the sweet potatoes, flesh side down, onto the parchment. Bake sweet potatoes until they are tender all the way through, about 25-30 minutes.
- While sweet potatoes bake, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. In a glass bowl, mix the garlic powder, cumin, ginger, coriander, maple syrup, tamari, and hot sauce. Then toss the chickpeas in this sauce.
- Transfer the chickpeas to the skillet. Sauté chickpeas until visibly browned and lightly dried. The spices should form a golden “crust” on the outside of the chickpeas. This should take about 5-10 minutes with intermittent stirring.
- Using the same bowl that you tossed the chickpeas in, whisk together the tahini sauce. Mix the ginger, tahini, lime juice, tamari, maple syrup, and hot sauce. When the sauce is smooth, add hot water to get the sauce to pourable consistency. Whisk thoroughly and set aside.
- Place the baked sweet potatoes on a platter. Top the sweet potato halves with tahini sauce, the cooked chickpeas, green onions, cilantro, basil, sesame seeds, and sriracha sauce. Serve with lime wedges on the side. Enjoy immediately.
Tucked away on the north end of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is the cutest darn little neighborhood you could imagine. Craftsman style homes, generous porches, young urban couples pushing babies in strollers, dogs playfully walking alongside their owners, coffee shops, “unchained” restaurants, and a charming little farmer’s market. Del Ray: fun, quirky, lovable.
The Del Ray Farmer’s Market is open EVERY Saturday 08:00 am – 12:00 pm. It’s located at 203 East Oxford Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia at the corner of Mount Vernon and Oxford Avenues.
At the height of the season, there are around 20 farmers and vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheeses, breads, fresh pasta, baked goods, cut flowers and home-made dog treats. You can grab your Saturday morning coffee there, and a young man on the north end of the lot sells incredible Salteñas, a Bolivian baked empanada. The Salteña is a little different than the empanada though. Inside a perfectly crisp pastry shell is a stew-like filling of meats, peas, and potatoes with a slightly sweet flavor. Mine was a breakfast Salteña, so there was also a bit of scrambled eggs inside. It’s slurpy. Hold it upright, nibble the edge, and get lots of napkins from the Salteña guy. I sat under a tree and got lost in my Salteña and iced coffee. I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand for effect…
If you drive, there is street parking on Mount Vernon and the side streets (you’ll be better off looking on the side streets). There is a paid parking lot across Oxford Avenue behind the Virginia Commerce Bank. You can also take the bus; there is a bus stop at the market (Mount Vernon and East Oxford) for both Metro and DASH buses. You could also take the metro to the Braddock Road Metro stop, but you’ll have a fairly decent 20-minute walk.
For additional information, and to check out the list of vendors, take a look at the Del Ray Farmer’s Market website.
It’s my favorite time of year: farmer’s market season. It’s a thing. Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, Farmer’s Market.
The Baltimore’s Farmer’s Market is certainly worth a visit. It’s filled to the brim with seasonal fruits, vegetables, poultry, seafood, beef, pork, lamb, bison, goat, rabbit, fresh baked goods, flavorful herbs, organically produced milk, yogurt, butter, eggs, cheeses, flowers and vegetable seedlings for your garden. It’s literally a cornucopia as far as farmer’s markets go. To top this, there are numerous food vendors dotted throughout the market. Pit beef sandwiches, omelets, breakfast burritos, crepes, wood-fired pizzas, pies, quiches, soups, noodles, dumplings and mushrooms (more on this later). Vegan items are sold as well, which may not have been obvious yet… Crafts, candles, organic dog treats, art, retro clothing, kombucha and kimchi.
It’s the largest producers-only market in Maryland. The market is sprawling and, interestingly, located underneath the highway overpass. Great for a rainy day, shielding from the summer sun, and adding an edgy, if not gritty, Baltimore feel to the market.
Eat, shop, be merry. What are you waiting for?…
The market is held on Sundays from 7:00 am – 12:00 pm between April – December. Many Sundays also feature live music performances and cooking demonstrations. The market is located below the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday & Saratoga streets.
Parking is surprisingly convenient and free (for 2 hours) at the Mercy Medical Center across the street in the Mary Catherine Bunting Garage at 330 Guilford Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202. Ensure you bring your ticket to the Market’s Welcome Tent to get a validation stamp. Without the stamp you will find yourself sweet-talking the garage attendant out of a $10 parking fee. Yeah, I still got it…
Art at the Farmer’s Market … it’s a permanent collection
Amazing food at The Mushroom Stand
What’s to eat at The Mushroom Stand? Your favorite fungi, baby!
Oyster Mush Fritters. Blue Oyster mushrooms dipped in beer batter and fried in peanut oil, topped with hot sauce and a healthy dose of feta cheese, served on a bed of lettuce.
Portabella Salad. Marinated and smoked portabella served over mixed greens and topped with feta and hot sauce.
The Portabella Sandwich. Marinated and smoked portabella with mixed greens in a toasted pita and topped with feta cheese and hot sauce.
Three choices; one hard decision. I opted for the Oyster Fritters. F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C.
Bread at the Farmer’s Market … plenty of carb-lovin’ options
Veggies at the Farmer’s Market
I know, I know… just when I told you I’m not vegan. Presenting: the Vegan Power Frappe! Ta da… I just can’t help myself because 1) I’m falling in love …with a new food blog…oh yes, The First Mess and 2) I’m trapped inside with 30 consecutive days of rain in the Washington DC area (..and NPR just reported it’s sunny in Seattle during the local
rubbing-it-in weather report). I need a pick-me-up people! Like now… like right now…
I love adding Maca powder to my morning shakes, and I’ve been known to sneak a pour of coffee into my shakes as well. So, when I saw these two in The First Mess Maca Caramel Frap, I dove right in. Maca has a malty, earthy flavor and, most importantly, a noticeable energy kick. You’d think it might be the coffee, but I get the same energy boost when I add only Maca and no coffee to my shakes.
There are a few items you’ll need to prepare in advance: the frozen banana (I always keep a gallon ziplock bag of half-cut bananas in the freezer); cold brewed coffee (you can cold brew, when needed, or use yesterday’s leftovers); and soaked cashews (soak the cashews overnight in cold water or soak in boiling water for 10 minutes as you’re preparing the rest of the shake… I used boiling water from my electric tea kettle while preparing the other ingredients).
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 10 minutes in boiling water
- 4 soft Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 banana, sliced and frozen
- Handful of ice cubes
- 2 teaspoons Maca powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup cold brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavored almond or coconut milk
- Soak the raw cashews in a bowl with boiling water for 10 minutes. You can boil the water in the microwave, stove top or tea kettle.
- For the coffee, you can cold brew or use yesterday's leftover coffee...
- Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend the mixture on high until smooth and frothy. Enjoy!
Every time I find myself in Dupont Circle, I wonder why I’m not wandering around Dupont Circle more often. It’s a charming and lively spot in the city: embassies, restaurants, shops, bookstores, eclectic everything. On each visit, I seem to end up at Kramerbooks & Afterwards Cafe. There are many things I love there: books and food and cashiers with nose piercings and tucked in the corner by the cafe… cookbooks… a.k.a. foodie romance novels.
And just like that, another one for the collection: The Oh She Glows Cookbook, Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon. Not because I’m vegan, but just because I want to be more mindful of what I’m eating. In the interest of more mindful eating, I thought I’d start with breakfast… Because, in my world, coffee is a food group… It’s what’s for breakfast… I’m not a morning person… so, I knew this new mindful eating thing would have to be easy if involving breakfast. And, with that, I present to you: Angela’s Vegan Overnight Oats with Nutty Granola Clusters. They are simply delicious. If you’re skeptical of cold oats… don’t be. Vegan oats… It’s what’s for breakfast.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1/4 cup chia seeds (white chia seeds if you can find them)
- 1 large banana, mashed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Blueberries or fresh berries of your choice
- Nutty Granola Clusters
- Maple Syrup
- 1 cup whole raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw pecans
- 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 2/3 cup mixed dried fruit (cranberries, cherries and/or blueberries)
- 1/2 cup raw pepita seeds
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the oats, almond milk, chia seeds, mashed banana and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight to thicken. In the morning, if too thick--add a little almond milk.
- Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place 1/2 cup almonds into a food processor and process for 10-15 seconds, until a fine meal forms. Transfer the ground almonds to a large bowl.
- In the food processor, combine the remaining 1/2 cup almonds and 1/2 cup pecans and process 5-10 seconds, until finely chopped (there will be some fine meal and some larger pieces). Add to the bowl with the almond meal.
- Add the oats, dried fruit, pepita seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, cinnamon and salt to the large mixing bowl and stir.
- In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, melted oil and vanilla and then mix into the large bowl with the oats.
- With a spatula, spread the granola into a 1/2 inch layer on the baking sheet and gently press to lightly compact it. Bake for 20 min, then rotate the pan and bake for 18-20 minutes more--until the granola is lightly golden.
- Cool the granola in the pan for at least 1 hour and then break apart and store in a glass jar. The granola stores for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator or freezer for 4-5 weeks.
- In a jar or parfait dish, layer the oats, fresh berries and granola and drizzle with a little maple syrup, if desired.
Santa Barbara, California. Have you been there? Then I don’t have to explain… I grew up in California, but left 20 years ago when I entered the Air Force. I’ve been to some pretty amazing places along the way, but my heart has always been in California. Now, I find that I miss it more and more. Especially in February…
I picked up the winter edition of Edible Santa Barbara while at the Hitching Post II in Buellton, California. I thumbed through Edible in my hotel room in Buellton. It was nice, but it seemed to be missing something: Santa Barbara. I snuck away from my work assignment and made my way to Santa Barbara. I barely remember the drive there– I was so intoxicated by the ocean scene, top down, sea salt air tickling my face. Then, pants rolled up, feet in the Pacific, gazing at that point where the sea meets the horizon. Flip flops, boys on skateboards pulsing through the Funk Zone, late afternoon sun beating down on my DC winter skin. I had come home to my love.
- 2 spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, season squash to taste for roasting
- 2 large tomatoes
- Lamb Sausage.
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon pink or black peppercorns, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 large shallots, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- Almond Salsa Verde.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeno pepper, roasted
- 1 poblano pepper, roasted
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram (or tarragon)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Roast the squash and peppers.
- Cut the spaghetti squash into 1-inch rounds (leave the skin on). Brush the rounds with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the the rounds on an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the squash starts to soften and the threads separate when you press the edges. Place the jalapeño and poblano peppers in the oven and roast at the same time (monitor the peppers as they will cook a bit faster). Remove from oven and set aside to cool briefly. When cool enough to handle, press the squash flesh away from the rind and place in a bowl. Set aside.
- Prepare the Almond Salsa Verde.
- Combine the garlic, roasted jalapeño and poblano pepper in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the almonds, cilantro and marjoram, and continue to pulse until the almonds are finely chopped (but not pureed). Place this mixture in a bowl and work in the oil, lime juice and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and place the mixture in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the lamb sausage.
- Grind the peppercorns and seeds. You can grind them with a mortar and pestle or throw them in your coffee bean grinder (my choice!). Combine the lamb, minced herbs and ground spices (and salt) in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Sauté the lamb mixture in a large frying pan and chop up slightly with a wooden spoon while cooking. Add the shallots and garlic when the lamb starts to brown. When the lamb sausage is almost cooked, mix in the roasted squash and heat until the squash is warm.
- Grill tomato slices.
- To serve.
- Place a serving of spaghetti squash with lamb on each plate, top with a grilled tomato slice and garnish with the Almond Salsa Verde. Enjoy!
Day 5 of Blizzard2016. When I went to Whole Foods well into Day 1 of Winter Storm Jonas, I wasn’t the only one who had chili on the storm survival menu. In fact, I wasn’t sure if we were headed into the worst storm in 50 years or a city-wide chili cook-off. Turns out it was the former… While, the spice section was completely clear of cumin, cayenne and paprika (really!), I had something different in mind: Spicy Harissa Chili with Merguez Sausage. Chili with a Mediterranean kick…and I mean KICK! Another inspiration from a new cookbook, “Balaboosta, Bold Mediterranean Recipes.”
Harissa is a hot chili pepper paste that originates from North Africa. Merguez, popular in North Africa and the Middle East, is a lamb or lamb/beef sausage that is spiced (often with cumin and harissa). Whole Foods carries harissa (both dry spice and a paste) and merguez sausage. I opted for the harissa paste, which I found tucked in between the hummus and baba ganoush in the refrigerated section. If you can’t find it locally, you can always order it online (you Amazon Prime junkie you…).
This chili has an interesting twist with the harissa and merguez sausage, and it’s really quite easy to make. I had it prepped in no time, grabbed my mug of hot cocoa, snuggled up in my oversized chair, and stared out the window watching my neighbors dig through 3 feet of snow as my chili simmered away…
- 2 cans 15.5 ounce dark red kidney beans, thoroughly rinsed
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound merguez sausage, casing removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons oregano, finely chopped
- 4 cups water
- Saute the ground beef and merguez sausage over high heat until browned. Season the meat with a little salt and pepper. Drain excess liquid/fat and set the browned meat aside.
- Veggies and spice.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until soft and slightly caramelized (about 7 minutes). Add the garlic and saute one minute. Add the tomato paste, stir into the veggies, and then sprinkle the sugar over the mixture. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the meat mixture to the large pot. Stir in the harissa paste, salt, cumin, chipotle powder, pepper, and oregano. Add 4 cups of water. Finally, add the kidney beans.
- Boil, then simmer.
- Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low, cover the pot, and simmer the chili for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Stir occasionally and add water if it starts to get dry.