Black Bean Chili with Chicken & Zucchini

This recipe is a great way to get some low-fat protein and fiber worked into your diet with a huge flavor profile.  It’s simple to make and only takes about half an hour from start to finish.   And did you know that the Chinese black bean, also known as Douchi, is a fermented soy bean? So if you’re trying to eat a more primal diet, these are an acceptable item.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Salt & pepper

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered & chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups of black beans

2 cups of diced tomatoes

1 small can mild green chilies

2 Tablespoons ancho chili paste

1/2 cup cilantro

Sour cream

Directions:

  • Warm a skillet over a medium heat, add olive oil
  • Season the chicken breast with chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper & sauté for a couple of minutes per side- just to get the cooking process started.  Remove from heat & set aside
  • In a large soup pot, sauté the onion, zucchini and garlic for 5 minutes.  While these are cooking, cut you chicken into bite-sized pieces
  • Add the chicken, beans, tomatoes, chilies and chili paste to the pot, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Top with sour cream & cilantro and serve

Chicken cauliflower curry

Alas, this dish has no cute story to go with it.  Just a fantastic flavor profile, and lots of textures.  It’ll make your home smell wonderful and you’ll be wanting to sample straight from the pan all the while it cooks.  And that’s not a bad idea either.  This way you can track the progress of the flavor meld of the ingredients.  It’s great to witness that happening.

I call for the chicken to be added back in nearer to the end of the cooking time because if it sits in the pan throughout then it will get tough and chewy.  That would be a horrible thing to do to a perfectly good chicken breast 😉

Ingredients:

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

5 small red potatoes, cubed, with the skins on

½ head of cauliflower, trimmed into bite-sized pieces

3-4 Tbsp hot curry paste

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

1 cup cooked lentils

Directions:

  • Sauté the chicken breast, then remove it from the pan and set aside
  • Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and cauliflower and sauté for another 5 minutes
  • Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute
  • Add tomatoes and water and simmer for half an hour
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add that and the cooked lentils to the mixture and let simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered
  • Season with salt and pepper to your taste.  Serve in large bowls.  Naan makes a great accompaniment

J

Flax Focaccia

Last year I went on a bus trip with my Gram to Tanglewood to see a show and a bagged lunch was part of the package provided by the Senior Center.  I can honestly say that I ate my bagged lunch and disliked it greatly.  I informed my Gram then and there that if she ever invited me to go on this annual trip with her again that we would not be eating the bagged lunch.  So when this year’s trip was booked, she invited me to accompany her, and I accepted, with one stipulation- I get to pack the picnic.  She accepted and the planning began.

In an effort to eat more primal foods (fresh, organic, unprocessed- read more here) I recently pulled conventional breads from my diet.  This is not to say that I will never eat bread again, because that would just be silly.  I simply find that it is necessary to shake things up a bit every once in a while, and now is that time for me.  I didn’t just change my eating habits, my exercise routine goes hand-in-hand thus that has changed as well.

So when it was time to plan the picnic menu I wanted to keep things simple.  Whatever we ate, drank, and served with had to be carried into the venue, used, carried around the venue for the entirety of our stay, then carted out with us.  Sandwiches really fit the bill here as they can be hand-held, but since I am currently omitting bread I was stuck.  Then I found a recipe for a lovely foccaccia which uses flax meal rather than flour.  The recipe is rich in protein and omega 3s which both fit well into my diet, and it made for a bread which didn’t look strange enough to make Gram & Neil question why I was feeding it to them 😉

This foccaccia is moist and rich and dense.  You can eat it as-is once it’s baked, or you can make sandwiches out of it, or you could top it with herbs and bake it again to make a crunchier version like this blogger did, or you could slather it in fresh pesto (as I did) and snack on it.  The foccaccia holds well in the refrigerator for several days in an air-tight container, or can be frozen for longer storage.

Ingredients:

2 cups flax meal

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon agave nectar

5 eggs, whisked

½ cup water

⅓ cup olive oil

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • In a medium bowl combine the flax meal, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the agave, eggs, water and olive oil
  • Stir dry ingredients into wet, mixing well, then allow to stand for 2-3 minutes so that batter thickens
  • Give the batter a quick stir and pour into an oiled 9×13 inch baking dish
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean
  • Remove from oven and cool.  Once cooled, I would recommend slicing directly in the pan, then removing individual pieces so as not to tear the center out if it’s stuck to the pan at all.

For our Tanglewood sandwiches, I cut 5″x5″ squares of foccaccia and sliced them in half- the skinny way, then slathered on some fresh pesto, added a thin chicken cutlet, fresh tomato slices, and a bit of baby greens.  Very tasty.

J

Kidney Bean Soup with Lime Yogurt

Now that we’ve had the tiniest turn in the weather here in New England, I feel as though I can post a soup recipe again without being driven from the free land of the internets 😉

This soup is high in protein, low in fat, and has a wealth of vitamin A.  It’s also got a fantastic thick and creamy consistency.  As far as flavor goes you get the standard kidney bean with the tangy yogurt and sweet lime all at once.  Then that’s all rounded out with the cumin & chili powder for a wonderful finish.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

1 celery stalk, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped

3 cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth

3 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS ground cumin

2 TBS ancho chili powder

1 TBS dried Mexican oregano

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained

salt and pepper to taste

Lime yogurt

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 TBS lime juice

1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Chop onions and garlic, carrots and celery & set aside

  • Heat 1 TBS broth in medium-sized soup pot and sauté the onion in the broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic, carrots, celery, and continue to sauté for a minute
  • Add broth, tomato paste, kidney beans, and spices and bring to a boil
  • Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender ·
  • Make lime yogurt by combining yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro in small bowl
  • Puree the soup in a blender in small batches
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Reheat, and pour into serving bowls, top with lime yogurt, and serve

I opted to serve this soup with a side salad topped with edible flowers (greens & flowers from Old Friends Farm).

This recipe inspired by a post on WHF.

J

Pureed Lima Beans with Rosemary Tomato Broth

So I saw this kind of strange-looking recipe that was intended as an alternative to mashed potatoes as a side.  I figured, what the heck, I’ll try anything once.  So I did.  And I am sooooo glad.  While this is absolutely no substitute for mashed potatoes, it is a fantastically flavorful pile of green mush that I liked so much, especially left-over the next day, that I bought more Lima beans and made it again the next week just to have for lunches/snacks for work.

Personally, I would call the rosemary-tomato broth optional.  It’s good, but like gravy to  mashed potatoes for me, I could care less whether I have it or not.  In fact, if you wanted to try the tomato flavor with the beans, you could even dress this in salsa and they would be great together.

Ingredients:

Tomato Broth

3 TBS + 1-1/4 cups chicken broth

½ medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBS tomato paste

½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

Beans

2 15 oz. bags (frozen) Lima beans

1 medium onion, chunked

¼ cup chicken broth

2 medium cloves garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat 3 TBS broth and sauté the ½ onion for 3 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  • Add the remaining broth and tomato paste. Cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, to reduce the broth. It should reduce to about half
  • Season with rosemary, salt, and pepper
  • While broth is reducing, sauté 1 medium onion in a Dutch oven, over medium-low heat in chicken broth
  • Add beans, broth, salt, and pepper, cover, and let cook for 5-6 minutes, to heat the beans through
  • Puree bean mixture with garlic in a food processor
  • Serve beans topped with tomato broth

J