Super Bowl is synonymous with many foods, but game day and chili are indeed the perfect combo. Whether you are watching the Super Bowl for the actual game, the commercials, or Beyonce, this spin on chili is the perfect fuel for your viewing pleasure.
This tomatillo-laced chili was initially conceived during a mission to create a pozole, a hominy-based Mexican stew. When my search for hominy left me empty handed, my brother-in-law suggested subbing in hearty beans for a more nutrient dense and accessible alternative. The result, a tangy and satisfying spicy green chili.
If you are not familiar with tomatillos, they resemble green tomatoes covered with a papery husk. Contrary to their appearance, tomatillos are members of the gooseberry family and are a staple in Latin cuisine. When selecting your tomatillos, choose small firm fruit which are bright green in color and have brownish green husks. The husks should remain intact until ready to use. Be sure to rinse the sticky film from the tomatillo skin prior to chopping and roasting.
One of my favorite things about chili are the toppings. Here I added sliced radish, avocado, microgreens, lime juice, and toasted corn tortilla strips. Greek-style yogurt, toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds, cilantro, or scallions would all work well too.
1 1/2 cups dried navy beans, great northern bean, or other white beans, soaked for at least 6 hours
2 white onions, one quartered, one diced
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil *
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, washed and quartered
3 jalapeños, stems removed, sliced in half. Remove some, none, or all of the seeds, depending on your heat tolerance.
5 cups filtered water
Sea salt + white pepper
2 limes, halved
Optional garnishes: toasted corn tortilla strips, I like this brand, chopped avocado, microgreens, sliced radish, cilantro leaves, toasted pumpkin seeds, plain yogurt, and/or sliced scallions.
Warm 1 tbsp oil in a dutch oven or medium sized pot over medium high heat. Stir in diced onion, garlic, and carrot, and sauté for five minutes or until onion is soft. Add cumin and coriander and toast for one minute, coating the vegetables. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the pot. Sauté for 30 seconds, coating the beans with the spice and onion mixture. Add in water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and partly cover for an hour or until beans are tender.
While the beans cook, heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss tomatillos, jalapeños, and the quartered onion with 1 tbsp oil and a pinch of sea salt on a parchment paper-liner sheet tray. Roast for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are soft. Let cool slightly. Transfer tomatillos, jalapeños, and onion to a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
Once the beans are cooked, add the tomatillo puree to the pot. Mix well to combine and cook on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Season with white pepper, taste, and add additional salt, if needed.
To make tortilla strips, cut tortilla lengthwise into strips, place on a sheet tray, and bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.
To serve, ladle chili into bowls, top with fresh lime juice, avocado, and selected garnishes.
(This chili is even better the next day!)
*A note about oils. I am currently completing the Chef's Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute. The first few weeks have been focusing on proper techniques and quality ingredients. Cooking oil is often a complicated and much discussed topic. The oil used depends on the heat at which you are cooking. Oils heated above their smoke point become denatured and lose their beneficial properties, releasing free radicals. Therefore, it is essential to select an oil that is heat appropriate. Refined organic non-gmo canola oil, or refined coconut oil have a smoke point of 450 degrees, making them your best bet for high temperature roasting or sautéing. Unrefined extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed olive oil have great nutritional benefit that break down if overheated and are best for dressings, finishing, poaching, and low heat cooking. The smoke point ranges from 280 to 450 degrees depending on whether the olive oil is extra virgin, virgin, or refined.