Black Bean and Corn Chili

I didn't have the chance to see whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year or not, but based off the recent warm weather I was positive winter was over. I should have known that having our temperatures reach almost 60°F was too good to be true. Only a few days later Mother Nature decided to drop a few extra inches of snow on us, just to keep us on our toes. 

Since I'm one of those people who likes to see things on the sunny side, I prefer to think she did it so we had a few more weeks to gorge ourselves on comfort food. I've spent most of the winter chowing down on never ending pots of soup, with a few batches of black bean and corn chili chili thrown in for good measure. While I'm looking forward to having fresh vegetables again, I will certainly use any excuse possible to make another batch of something warm and comforting.

Chili is one of those meals I rely on when I know I'll be rushing around all day long because it's an easy meal to toss in the crock-pot before I leave in the morning. Added bonus: It freezes well so I always keep some on hand for those nights I don't feel like cooking. I may write about food for a living, but even I have nights when I'd rather spend the night on the couch with a good book, a warm blanket, and a meal I didn't have to stand in the kitchen cooking.

If that sounds like you, then make up a batch ASAP, but don't forget to pair it with some delicious Buttermilk Corn Bread. You really can't have chili without it, can you?

Black Bean and Corn Chili | Not Starving Yet

Black Bean and Corn Chili


makes 6 - 8 servings

 

Ingredients

 


1lb ground beef
½ yellow onion, diced
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
3 (15oz) cans black beans
1 (14.5oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 (12oz) package frozen black bean and corn blend (see notes)
1 Tablespoon chili powder

Directions

 

  • In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add ground beef and yellow onion. Cook until the meat is browned and the onions are slightly translucent. Turn the heat off and drain the excess grease from the pan. Season beef with taco seasoning, then transfer to a crock-pot.
  • Add black beans, diced tomatoes with green chilis, frozen black bean and corn blend, and chili powder. Stir well to combine, then cook for 6 - 8 hours on low heat.

Notes


The frozen black bean and corn blend that I use for this recipe goes by many names. The brand I buy calls it Santa Fe Blend, although I've seen it called Baja Blend as well. What you're looking for, regardless of the name, is a bag of frozen corn, black beans, onions, red and green peppers, with no additional seasonings added.

If you have leftovers you can let  the chili cool completely, portion it out into small microwave safe containers, then freeze it for up to 4 months. I like to keep a few servings on hand for nights I don't feel like cooking, but still want a home cooked meal.

 

Traditional Irish Champ (Mashed Potatoes with Scallions and Cheese)

I've had a bit of trouble getting motivated the past few months, so I decided it was time to take a brief break from writing and spend more time in the kitchen. That's always been my solution when words don't come to me easily. I spent the summer testing out new canning recipes, then took a brief vacation to Ireland where I was able to travel the country by train and try some new-to-me dishes.

There is nothing like a vacation to provide a bit of inspiration, but two days in to our trip I realized something: Despite the fact that I live in what I refer to as the frozen North, the temperature difference between Ireland and Southern Wisconsin is pretty substantial, even in the summertime. The days were cold and rainy, much like our typical fall weather back home, so I spent my vacation gorging myself on soup, fresh baked bread, and other dishes that are wonderful at warming you from the inside out.

Once I returned home the temperatures had gone through the roof, so I tucked all of my ideas away, thinking to pull them out once our weather back home cooled off. The trouble with that is our weather has been incredibly mild this year, it was 60°F only a week ago. This hasn't really put me in the mood for comfort food yet, but things are slowly changing. We finally had our first substantial snow of the year, so I knew the time had finally arrived to dust off the new recipes I'd been working on, starting with this delicious Irish Champ. 

Traditional Irish Champ | Not Starving Yet

Traditional Irish Champ

makes 6 - 8 servings


Ingredients

3lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup whole milk
6 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup Kerrygold Irish butter, salted
1 - 2 ounces sweet cheddar cheese, shredded (see notes)
white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Place cubed potatoes in a saucepan, add sea salt, and cover with 1 - 2 inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Allow the potatoes to simmer in an uncovered pan for 20 - 30 minutes or until they are fork tender. Larger potatoes will need to be boiled longer, so I prefer to check mine around the 20 minute mark and continue cooking as necessary.
  • In a small saucepan add whole milk and sliced scallions, then cook until the milk is warm. Do not boil.
  • Combine cooked potatoes, butter, warmed milk, and scallions in a large bowl, then mash until they've reached your desired consistency (I prefer to leave mine a little chunky.) Add the shredded cheddar and white pepper. Mix well, then serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until later. Enjoy!

Notes

You can use any type of cheddar you'd like in this recipe, although I'm partial to Kerrygold's Skellig. It adds just a hint of sweetness and gives the potatoes a rich, melt-in-your-mouth flavor. 

If you need to feed a large group of people this is a great dish add to your menu. It can be made a day or two in advance and reheated in the oven when you're ready to serve it. After you've made the potatoes place them in an oven safe baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. To reheat: Remove the plastic wrap, place the dish in a cold oven, turn the heat up to 350°F, and bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until the potatoes are no longer cold in the center.