Monday, January 25, 2010

Recipes for cozy winter nights: Chickpea Chili and British Cornbread

I had the most lovely dinner with friends last night, and even luckier for me, they are fantastic cooks. Stephanie made the best chili I have ever had (that is right- we are using superlatives here) and my British friend Melissa made the best cornbread ever. The chili has chick peas and tomatillos, so it is very fresh, and the cornbread is more like cake than bread- in texture, not sweetness. Here are the recipes, in the voices of the lovely women who made them. Enjoy!

Stephanie's Chick Pea Chili
• 8 lb. Tomatillos, husked, cleaned
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 2 cups cilantro leaves
• 1/4 cup lime juice
• 2 tsp. garlic powder
• 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp. black pepper
• 1 lb. 4 oz. onions, chopped
• 6 lb. Chick peas, canned drained
• Salt to taste


1. Combine tomatillos and 1/2 cup of the olive oil in pressurized
steam cooker. Steam for 20 minutes; strain through fine-mesh strainer.
2. Blend in blender or food processor cilantro with lime juice,
garlic powder, cayenne and pepper until liquefied. Add to tomatillo
puree; set sauce aside.
3. Cook onions in 1/4 cup of remaining oil until softened. Add chick
peas and tomatillo sauce; simmer 5 minutes to thicken slightly,
stirring often. Salt to taste.

I don't have a pressurized steam cooker, so I just chopped up the
tomatillos, put them in a bowl, filled the bowl with water and popped
them in the microwave for ~20 minutes. I didn't use any oil in the
tomatillos, because that seemed kind of gross and unnecessary.

The recipe seems to be missing a step between 1 and 2. Step 2 says
something about tomatillo puree, yet step 1 doesn't say anything about
pureeing the tomatillos. I used an immersion blender to puree the
tomatillos after draining off the water used to steam them.

Also, I halved this recipe, which seems designed to feed a small army,
though I did keep the amount of spice the same (cayenne and black
pepper) because I really like spice.

Melissa's Cornbread
from Susan Reimer's book 'Muffins Fast and
Fantastic' (1998) and because it's an English book, the measurements are
by weight, not volume. I'll give them in imperial.

6 oz plain flour
6 oz cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 oz sugar
1 egg
9 fl oz milk
3 oz butter, melted

1. Prepare muffin tins or loaf pan (I use butter and then line the bottom
only with greaseproof paper). Preheat oven to 375-400F.
2. In a large bowl, combine all the first 5 ingredients, mixing well. Make
a well in the centre.
3. In another bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Add milk and melted butter
(if the butter is hot from melting and the milk and egg are cold, you will
get a scrambled effect - don't worry if this happens; just mix it all
together anyway).
4. Pour all of wet ingredients into dry. Stir until just combined. Batter
will appear lumpy, but no dry flour should be visible (stir as little as
5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full or pour into loaf pan. Bake for 20 mins for
muffins, 35-45 mins for a loaf, until edges appear golden brown and top
springs back when touched, or a knife or skewer comes out clean on
testing. Let cool in the pan for a bit, then take it out.

She also suggests adding 1-2 oz grated cheddar cheese or some finely
chopped cooked bacon, but this recipe is so good that I don't mess with
it. It's also quick - you can make the muffins in 30 mins, start to

1 comment:

  1. These look SO good -- we're certainly craving soups and stews these days (although the truth is we're mainly roasting up the last of our potatoes and carrots and chicken)!

    And hmm ... maybe we should grow tomatillos this year!