Saturday, April 5, 2014

What a crock of beans!

I hate wasting food.  I can't help it, when something is going to be thrown out, I want to try and figure out a way to use it.  That's why I save my veggie trimmings in a bag in my freezer to make stock (which you should do too, because it's awesome).  
All this to say, when my office catered Chipotle a few weeks ago, I ended up taking home beans.  Lots and lots of beans, both black and pinto.  I divided them up into quart-sized freezer bags and waited for inspiration to strike.  

And strike it did, in the form of a bag butternut squash languishing in the back of my freezer.  I thought it would make a really nice addition to a black bean chili.  Turns out, I was right!

Side note:  I also brought home leftover rice and was able to freeze it as well.  It reheated beautifully (which I wasn't sure would work, so there you go). 

What you'll need:

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed ( or a quart-sized bag of free beans from work)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of diced green chilies, or 1/2 cup frozen green chilies if you want more of a kick.
1 cup frozen corn
1 package of frozen butternut squash (10 oz.) or feel free to use fresh if you prefer!
1 red onion, diced
(If I were a fan of bell pepper, dicing one up with the onion would be nice, but I'm not, so I didn't)
1 T. olive oil 
4 cups chicken stock (I used vegetarian Better than Bouillon) 
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro and Greek yogurt as garnish. 

So, saute your onion in the bottom of a stock pot with the olive oil on medium high heat (this is where you throw in your bell pepper, if you want) until it's translucent.  Add your stock, tomatoes, beans, chilies, corn, squash, bay leaf and salt and pepper, cover, reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender and it has made your house smell awesome.  In my case, about 45 minutes. 

Ladle into your favorite bowl, top with Greek yogurt (I like Fage, because it's the most sour-creamy of the Greek yogurts) and cilantro.  Feel free to add some cotija cheese or hot sauce as well.

If you can, set the chili in the fridge overnight and eat it the next day.  Trust me, it's worth the wait. I know you know that I think leftovers are the best.

Bon Appetit!