Saturday 28 July 2012

July 28, 2012 - Will you bean mine, red valentine?

I can already hear most of you now, "Bram, you haven't posted a thing in two weeks and you come back with a lame line like that?". Yes, you bet I did! With good cause I assure you.

Tomorrow I'm going to be making chili con carne to enjoy for both dinner and lunches for the work week. One of my favourite ways to make chili is in a slow cooker (or 'crock pot'). It couldn't be easier. You add browned meat with crushed tomatoes and spices and let it stew on a low heat for five or six hours. Then you add your vegetables and beans and let it cook at the same temperature for another five hours or so. Some people like to throw the meat and vegetables in at the same time and let everything stew together all day. There's nothing particularly wrong with that. I just find that when you do that your vegetables completely go to mush and aside from some of the flavours they provide (which have to compete with a bouquet of gutsy spices), they're basically non-existent. Putting them in about halfway allows them to contribute to the end product but also lets them be individual contenders. 

I was at the market today getting some ingredients for the project. I've decided to include the Cajun holy trinity (which we covered in a previous blog entry): onion, celery, and green pepper. I also have some red chilies, garlic, and lentils which are all going into the slow cooker. I also picked up another ingredient. One so special that it gets its own blog entry with a photograph. The red valentine bean. 

Known to Latin-speaking brainiacs as Phaseolus Vulgaris (or Refugee and even Thousand-for-One). The red valentine is an heirloom bean whose both exterior pod and fruit within are an off-white colour with specks and stripes of magenta to dark red. It has a relatively short growing season and is only available for a  brief time. They are sure to be a real treat in this chili tomorrow. 

Hmm, what else would you give your valentine that could also work in chili con carne? How about chocolate! Intrigued? Stay tuned... 


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