I'm having a ridiculous amount of fun with these uber-local meals, have ya noticed?
So it's corn season, the beans are rolling in, tomatoes are looking GOOD, and peppers are here! Obviously, chili needed to happen, but I wanted to do something more playful. And we have...
Baked Chili-stuffed Peppers with Mexican Rice Pilaf
Mmm-hmm. Made possible by discovering that Reid's stocks rice grown locally (that link isn't to their store but to an Anson Mill's page where you can buy the same product) and that awesome lady that sold me a pound of freshly hulled brown beans at last week's Farmer's Mkt. Hifive sista.
For the Chili, you'll need:
1 pound of fresh beans, any kind of medium bean will do, rinsed thoroughly
4 large tomatoes, seeded, peeled, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 medium vidalia onion, chopped
1 head garlic, heirloom if possible, minced
As much summer squash as you can stand (we have a ton, so a ton went into the pot - 1 large would be more normal) diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or fat (I used butter to be uber-local)
3-4 small carrots, peeled and chopped
Salt and chili powder to taste (I used a chipotle hot sauce produced locally - a little heat, a little sweet)
1 tablespoon honey
Melt your butter or heat your oil in a large pot over medium high. Add your carrots, garlic, and onion and saute until the onions are translucent and the carrots are beginning to soften. Add your squash and continue cooking until the edges of the squash begin turning translucent. Add 3 cups water, your chopped 'maters, the fresh beans, chili powder and salt to taste, stir and lower heat to medium. Cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for an hour, or until your beans are soft-ish. If you prefer a firmer squash in your chili, don't saute them - add them about 20 minutes into the simmer process. When your beans have cooked, add the cilantro and scallions. Stir and cover, but remove from heat.
For the rice, you'll need:
2 cups long grain rice, local is best!
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tsp salt
3 scallions, minced
Diced tomato (optional)
Boil 2 liters of water in a large stock pot, add rice, and continue to boil for 30 minutes, covered. Drain in a colander for 10 seconds, them return to the hot pot, adding corn, cilantro, salt and scallions (and tomato, if you so desire). Cover and let sit 15 minutes to steam.
To assemble, you'll need:
Fresh chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a hoop cheddar from Hillbilly Produce Mart - but any cheddar or jack cheese will do)
Preheat your oven to 375f. Oil a large baking dish. Place the pepper halves in the dish, close to one another is fine, interior up. Using a soup spoon or any smallish spoon, fill the cavities with as much chili as you can fit (mounding a bit is fine). Generously sprinkle each filled pepper with shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until you see the peppers start to soften and absorb some of the chili's color. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Yum!
I had extra chili, so we ate some (with that tasty rice) for dinner, stew-style. I usually make more complicated chili's (ancho, chipotle, chocolate, beer, sometimes everything at once, hehe) but the freshness of the beans and 'maters really stood out here. Simple. Satisfying.