Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Soy Chorizo Chili with Swiss Chard Sauce

Okay guys, it's recipe time again. This time, I had a "duh" moment and realized that I could put our fan in the kitchen so I wouldn't turn into a sweaty puddle by the time dinner was ready to be served. As much as I love our house, I am despising it with a fierce passion these hot summer days. Even if there's a nice cool breeze outside, these concrete walls manage to trap every last drop of humidity all day long, all day. And for some reason, (read: laziness) we have not yet endeavored to buy an in-window AC unit. I only blame Guitar Boy. (Hee hee.)

So, I decided it was time to make a meal meal. Not dinky little dishes that only last a day. And besides, I had a ton of random produce sitting in the fridge going to waste and as Guitar Boy will contest, I am secretly a communist and refuse to throw any food away. In any case, using those said produce, I made soy chorizo chili topped with cubes of fresh avocados and a bright, citrusy swiss chard sauce. Yep, you read that right.

If you're not familiar with soy chorizo, get thee to a Trader Joe's immediately. If you are nowhere near a Trader Joe's, I feel for you. In moving to Akron, we have effectively moved ourselves one hour away from the nearest one. It sucks. Hugely. But anyway, soy chorizo is just that, vegetarian chorizo. I'm not a huge fan of faux meat but this I make an exception for. It's spicy and earthy and has great texture. It's so packed with spices that I don't even bother adding any spices in other than salt. Less work for me! If you can't get your hands on soy chorizo, seek out a faux ground meat alternative like a "sausage" you can crumble up, MorningStar Meal Starters, or even chop up a few spicy veggie burgers. I've done that. It works. No complaints. (image credit)

The best part is that I used one big pot for each step of the dish. Cuts way down on the dishes you have to hand wash. Like I said before, when you have to hand wash all your dishes, the lengths you go to avoid using a dish suddenly becomes very reasonable.

Make the sauce first, cover tightly, and set aside. Then boil the potatoes, drain, and commence with the chili making.

To make the swiss chard sauce:

Gather up to make about 1 to 1 1/2 cup:
  • Generous 1 lb swiss chard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 green onion
  • Large handful of cilantro (about 1 cup or more, depending on your preference)
  • 2 limes or more if desired
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fill a large stock pot about halfway and bring to boil. 
  • Rinse the swiss chard and cut into large strips just to make it manageable. Discard the stems (or put into your giant frozen bag full of veggie discards for a future stock.) Chop the green onion coarsely. 
  • Once the water is boiling, salt and add the swiss chard and cover. Bring to a high simmer and let cook for 5 minutes. They may be pretty soft by then, but we're pureeing them so we're not concerned about texture. 
  • Throw in the green onions and let cook for one more minute. 
  • Remove the vegetables from the water and blanch by running cold water over them in a colander. 
  • Then add to a blender, don't worry if you transfer some of the water into it, you'll need it to puree. 
  • Add in the garlic cloves, cilantro, juice of two limes, and salt and pepper. Puree until very smooth and taste. 
  • Add more lime juice and salt and pepper if needed. Cover tightly and set aside.
To make the chili:

Get together to make about 4 small servings or 2 huge ones:
  • 1 lb small potatoes (white or red, I used the tiny white ones from Trader Joe's.)
  • 1 candy onion, diced (from the farmer's market, milder and sweeter than vidalia onions!)
  • 1 large tomato (think mine was about a pound.)
  • 1 package soy chorizo
  • 1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (Goya's dark red kidney beans are amazing.)
  • Salt
  • Sour cream if desired
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 lime or lemon, juiced
Take a deep breath, stand by the fan for a minute, then commence making it:
  • Since I kept the water from boiling the swiss chard in the pot, I just brought it back to a boil and used it to boil the potatoes. Boil until a fork goes through fairly easily, about 10-15 mins. Then drain, removing the water from the pot and set aside.
  • Heat up some olive oil in the pot over medium heat, add the diced onions and cook until translucent.
  • Chop the tomato coarsely and add them to the onions. Let them cook until the cubes are breaking apart with a spoon, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Cut the casings off the soy chorizo and add to the pot. Let cook for a few minutes until warmed through and add 1/4 of water if it looks a little dry. Alternatively, add some more tomatoes if you have some. I didn't.
  • Add in the boiled potatoes and red beans and cover the pot, set on low, and let them warm through again. 
  • Salt if needed.
  • Since the soy chorizo is pretty hot and Guitar Boy has a low tolerance for spicy food, I added about 1/2 cup of sour cream to help combat the heat. You can do this or omit if desired.
  • In a small bowl, combine the avocado cubes and lemon or lime juice with a sprinkling of salt.

Voila. To serve, just mound the chili in a bowl, spoon on some of the swiss chard sauce, and sprinkle with some cubes of avocados. Add another dollop of sour cream if you like.

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