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Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chili Sin Carne & Rustic Bread

I'm not going to lie: I'm not a football fan, or a watcher of sports in general. But there is something about championship games that reels me in just about every year, especially when New England's finest are on the field. It is in these moments that I get to feel like a true New England-ah, even if I get more excitement out of analyzing the debut of top-dollar commercials than the plays making (or breaking) a home-state win.

What better to go with the Game Day of Game Days than a bowl of hot and spicy chili? It's hearty texture and robust flavor can be relished by omnivores and herbivores alike with the following recipe. Though meatless, subtle accents from cocoa and beer add a depth of flavor that is hard to resist. Serve with a fresh loaf of dense and chewy bread (fret not; it's likely the most hands-off recipe you'll ever come by) and you've got yourself two healthy and delicious homemade creations to add to your Game Day spread.

Chili Sin Carne
Serves about 6-10 (depending on portion size)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-3 tbsp hot peppers, finely chopped (I used jalapenos)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes (reserve liquid)
  • 6-8 oz beer (I used a lager)
  • 3 cups cooked kidney beans, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained
  • additional salt to taste
  • 1 lime, sliced for squeezing (optional)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sweat onions, carrots, celery, peppers, and garlic until soft and glossy, or about 10 minutes. Add hot peppers, oregano, cumin, chili powder, paprika, coriander, cocoa, sugar, and salt, stirring to incorporate. Add tomatoes; also add about 4 cups of liquid, including the tomato water, beer, and additional water if needed. Simmer gently, uncovered over low heat, for 45 minutes. Add beans; simmer gently for an additional 30 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved. Serve immediately with slices of lime or portion into pint containers. Keep in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Rustic Bread
Makes 1 loaf (about 1 1/2 lb)
  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour (I used a 2:1 ratio of whole wheat and white AP)
  • 1/4 tsp active yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 5/8 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
  • extra flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran for dusting
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add water and stir just until incorporated; it will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees F.
Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees F. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.


Images by Rebekah Carter (2012). Chili recipe adapted from Whole Foods. Bread recipe from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery via the New York Times.

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