Black Bean Espresso Chili

Well I believe it’s safe to say that fall weather is officially here in South Carolina, which means late spring temperatures in the afternoon and winter temperatures at night. With that said, our low here in the Lowcountry was in the forties Sunday night and into Monday morning. When the weather turns chilly, what better to warm you up than soup or stew, or how about chili? I decided to go the chili route.

The wonderful thing about chili is that is that it’s infinitely adjustable and this recipe is something I scrapped together from my pantry and took very little effort. The espresso adds a mysterious smoky zip that’s complimented by a dash of cinnamon. The pumpkin doesn’t stand out on its own, but rather works to add thickness and depth (no, it won’t taste like pumpkin spice chili). I added a little more spice than I recorded, simply because my hunny loves him some hot chili. The way it’s recorded is more to my taste but it’s equally good extra spicy. I have to admit this was pretty addictive – I already have requests to make this again.

 Served with Shrimp

Black Bean Espresso Chili

3 T olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz can unseasoned black beans, drained
1 17.64 oz box rustic chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 c pumpkin puree
1-2 c water
1 1/2 T instant espresso powder
2 T chili paste
2 T cayenne
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t cumin
3 T fresh cilantro, chopped, plus extra for serving
1/2 t black pepper
1 1/2 T Sriracha
Plain Greek yogurt to serve, optional
1 1/2 T green onion, chopped, to serve, optional
In a large saucepan, cook red onion over medium heat until just softened. Add garlic and cook until golden.

Sautee Onion

Add black beans, tomatoes, pumpkin puree and water; stir well to combine and bring to a low boil for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and ad espresso, chili paste, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, Sriracha and cilantro.

Add Tomatoes

Add Chili Paste

Cover and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, checking for sticking and stirring every few minutes.

Serve topped with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, cilantro and green onion. I added sauteed shrimp to mine as well, you know for extra protein and just because I love me some skrumps.


Served with Shrimp

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Moroccan Shrimp and Red Onion Sauté

Lately, I’ve had trouble finding recipes to get really pumped about. With that being said, I’m the proud owner of a pretty extensive collection of cookbooks (for a 23 year-old at least), with cookbooks ranging from the South Carolina Wildlife Cookbook, which includes great tips and recipes for cooking anything from deer to snapping turtle to beaver, to one on Lebanese classics and comfort food. My favorite cookbooks tend to be Australian; the Aussies have a penchant for great Asian fusion as well as English classics. Despite my plethora of options for finding ideas, I rarely actually use recipes. Instead, I pour through about 5 cookbooks at a time and get ideas for flavor combinations that will work. 

Last night, while trying to decide what to do with the pound of shrimp I had just purchased, I stumbled upon a great recipe in one of my go-to cookbooks. If you do not own The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh, you must find it ASAP. This gem includes 1100 recipes that are quick, easy to follow and cover a spread of ethnic and American flavor palettes. 

The recipe for Moroccan Shrimp and Red Onion Sauté is so vibrant and full of spice – not the hot kind of spice but the delicious, fragrant kind. I served it atop roasted chick peas and brown rice but lentils and greens would be just lovely as well. Whatever you choose to serve with it, be sure it simply seasoned – this dish calls for subtle sides the balance it’s dynamism.

Fast Easy Fresh

Moroccan Shrimp and Red Onion Sauté

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger (I subbed Gourmet Garden ginger in equal quantity and I honestly don’t think it made any difference)
2 teaspoons hot chili sauce (ex. Sriracha)
12 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
1 red onion, halved, peeled, each half cut into 4 wedges through root end
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (for serving)

Ingredients

Toast coriander seeds, cardamom seeds and cumin in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, shaking skillet, about 1 minute.

Toasting Spices

Coarsely grind spices in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (or just crush spices with the end of a wooden spoon). Transfer to large bowl; mix in oil, ginger, chili sauce, cinnamon and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp and onion; toss to coat.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until blackened in spots, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.

       Red Onion in PanRaw Shrimp Added to PanAll Cooked in Pan

Add shrimp and marinade; sauté until just cooked through; about 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp and onion to plate. Top with cilantro. 

Served

Sriracha White Wine Sauce

Like most people cooking on a budget, I often turn to pasta to create a filling meal which can quickly become repetitive. While I prefer to use a carb curfew (refraining from carbs after 6:00 PM), this doesn’t work well when it comes to satisfying a hungry Mr. Wonderful. With that said, I’m continually making new sauces to liven things up. After deciding I needed to use up some shrimp, I whipped up this sauce and served with linguine and wilted spinach on the side. I also chose to poach the shrimp in the sauce. The mint and sriracha make for a bright sauce that is full of flavor yet light enough for our hot and humid Lowcountry evenings. And who doesn’t love sriracha?
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1 c  dry white wine (Francis Coppola Sauvignon Blanc is my preference)
Splash lemon juice
½ c reserved pasta water
Splash cream
1 T sriracha
¼ c finely chopped fresh mint

  1. In a large pan, bring wine to a low boil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in a splash of lemon juice simmer for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add ½ c of pasta water.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add a splash of cream (do not use milk instead – it will not be the same), gently whisk.
  5. Add sriracha and stir until even distributed.
  6. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in mint. Serve.

*Pasta water is great for stretching sauces and doesn’t create a watered-down consistency due to the starch from the pasta. Right before you drain pasta, use a measuring cup to scoop out 1 cup of the water. If your sauce seems too thick, just add pasta water until you reach the desired consistency. It’s also great to keep in the refrigerator for when you have leftovers that need reheating.

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