Weekend Cooking: The Good Neighbor Cookbook
Do you have trouble figuring out what to fix for a neighbor who’s sick or just had a baby? Are you tired of fixing the same old thing for every potluck you go to? If you answered yes to those question, then The Good Neighbor Cookbook by Sara Quessenberry and Suzanne Schlosberg is for you. This cookbook is unique in that it is organized by occasion rather than by food category. The dishes are matched for the occasion – high-energy foods for new parents, nutrient packed foods for sick friends, etc. – and fairly simple to create. There are great tips included with almost every recipe and metric conversions and an index in the back. My only complaint with this cookbook is that there are no photographs, but I think that was done to keep it affordable – it will retail for $16.99 in the US when comes out on January 4, 2011.
Our neighborhood has an annual “chili festival” and since this cookbook includes a chili recipe, I thought it was the perfect time to give it a try. Carl volunteered to cook this recipe, which is found in “Welcome to the Neighborhood” chapter and it was a big hit. The recipe completely filled a 4 quart crock pot. Out of the seven or eight chilis there, I think it was the most popular – there was about a cup left when the event was over.
Red and White Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
Pinch of ground cinnamon
¼ cup tomato paste
1½ pounds ground chuck beef
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 (15.5 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic and ½ teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring often, until tender 8 to 10 minutes (decrease the heat, as necessary, to prevent scorching).
Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon, then the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook, crumbling with a spoon, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, 3 cups water, the cannellini and kidney beans, sugar, pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.
Decrease the heat and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Cook’s Tip: Ground turkey can easily be substituted for the beef. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months. (For more of a kick, stir in cayenne pepper.)
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Carl found the directions clear and the recipe easy to follow. He cooked the beef separately so that he could drain the fat. Since I’m not crazy about beans, he added an extra can of diced tomatoes. (I did find this chili delicious, beans and all, and ate two bowls of it.) He also added the cayenne pepper.
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