Tuesday, May 15, 2012

White bean chili verde

When this recipe says chili verde, let me tell you, it means chili verde.  I've been trying to use more dry beans, and I've found that my kids have liked the chilies that I have made.  I've been trying to rotate type of bean, so it was time to try a white bean chili.  This one caught my attention because of it's use of tomatillos.   It also had tons of veggies - spinach, cilantro, peppers... 
Now, I'm not going to lie, this was a bit on the time consuming side.  It didn't help that I overfilled my blender and ended up spraying my kitchen with chunky green salsa either (did I mention that salsa was boiling hot and got all over me too.)  NOT pretty.  The chili did turn out well.  I liked the flavor, and I liked that it had tons of veggies in it.  However, it was a bit soupier than I would have expected.  In fact you could call this a green chili soup.  I actually ended up putting some crushed tortilla chips in my "soup."  It really tasted the best that way.  (I think because we didn't add enough salt. - by the time my poor hubby came home, I wanted out of the kitchen.  My arm hurt from being burned, and I'd spent my "simmer time" cleaning a huge mess.  I headed out to pick up my oldest from wrestling and he finished - resulting in salt not being added at all - but added later.)  
I think this would have been super tasty served with a slice of fresh lime to squeeze in.  It would also keep with the green theme. :)

Here's a little time schedule I used.  I have to say it didn't work exactly as planned but that was due to 1001 interruptions by 4 boys.
The night before - or early in the morning for me - soak beans
Start 3:10 -left the pot simmering while taking a son to cello lessons and dropping another at wrestling.
Home 4:45 -roast veggies then steam 
                     prep veggies non-steamed veggies (tomatillos and cilantro)
5:15 - puree  then simmer
5:45-6:00 - done and serve.

Again, that would be in an ideal world.  I will say that I did start when I got home at 4:45 but I wasn't quite done when I went to get the son from wrestling at 6:30.  But that was normal motherly interruptions  of checking on kids, helping with one thing or another - breaking up arguments...  Then of course there was the minor blender disaster - So hopefully your world is more perfect than mine and the schedule above will be more accurate.  :)
And my final commentary before I get on with the recipe already - this recipe calls for some random chilies.  It has inspired me to do a post on chiles (it will be my next post but will not show up until tomorrow.)  This recipe called for cubanelle chiles or Italian frying peppers - neither of which I could find at the store (and I went to the Fiesta mart - totally should have had every type of chile available in my area.)  So at the store I guessed and went with anaheim.  I was so proud when I got home and looked online and found out that low and behold anaheim is a good sub for cubanelle.  Yea me.  :)

  • 1 1/2 cups dried Great Northern or other white beans, soaked overnight or from the early morning, or quick soaked (I used a mix of Great Northern and small white beans - it is just what I had)
  • 8 cups water (I'd seriously consider reducing this to 6 or even less if you want a thicker chili.  8 makes a nice soup)
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 anaheim chiles (unless you know what cubanelle chiles or Italian frying peppers are and have access to them.)
  • 2 green bell peppers (I actually used 6-8 tiny sweet bells.  I always have them on hand and didn't feel like purchasing greens just for this chile.)
  • 12 ounces spinach (I used baby just because that is what I always have on hand)
  • 12 tomatillos, husked, washed, and quartered (I had some pretty large tomatillos so this was a lot.)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (I just used the entire bunch minus a couple that I kept for garnish then forgot to use as garnish - ha!)
  • salt -do NOT forget this.  :)
  1. Drain the beans.  Combine the beans with the 8 (or less) cups water, ancho chiles, and bay leaves in a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, (here is my problem.  I didn't see this partially covered part - that may have evaporated off some water??  I needed/wanted them covered because I was gone and couldn't babysit them.)  Simmer until beans are tender - 1 1/2 -2 hours.  (My beans were actually done when I got home after 1 1/2 hours.) 
  2. Roast the anaheim chiles and green pepper (or red and orange)  under a broiler or over a gas flame, turning frequently until the peppers are charred all over.  Transfer to a paper or plastic bag.   Close tightly, and let steam for 10 minutes.  Peel and remove seeds.
  3. Drain the beans, reserving cooking liquid and anchos but discarding the bay leaves.  
  4. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil.  Add the anchos, roasted peppers, spinach, tomatillos and cilantro.  Cook until the spinach is wilted - 4-5 minutes.  
  5. Spoon the spinach mixture into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  (DO NOT OVERFILL - Disaster may ensue)   
  6. Return the puree to the pot with the beans.  Add salt to taste.  Simmer over very low heat for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Serve as desired - topped with cheese, tortilla chips, a slice of lime, sour cream -- any or all of those would be tasty.

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