Bodacious Chili – East meets Southwest, Peru and Koronis Purple Beans cooked in Columbian Black Clay Pot

I love the fall season and the ingredients that come to market. Gone are the days of heirloom tomatoes, corn and fava beans. These are the days of winter squash, turnip and dried beans. My Saturday mornings are spent at one of the local farmer’s markets looking for interesting food. One of the local purveyors, Lonely Mountain Organic Farm, sells interesting dried beans. On this day he had Koronis Purple Beans. The Koronis Purple is a bush bean, a shelling bean. It was developed by Robert Lobitz and was grown for its shelling beans with deep purple seeds. They were far to pretty to pass up. I was speaking to Kevin, the farmer from Lonely Mountain that grew these beans, and he said that they had just been harvested and were so fresh they didn’t need to be soaked overnight. We thought they would work well for chili. And so I thought what kind of chili would be interesting. Let me do an east meets southwest, Peru, Koronis Purple for some bodacious fun. I was hoping that the glorious purple would remain. But alas that was not to be the case.

Gone are the days when our only choices for chili were red pepper flakes and chile powder. Cayenne, jalapeño, anchos, pasillas can be found at most grocery stores. But there are even more interesting varieties that are not mainstream and I had a couple in my pantry that I wanted to use in this chili. I opted instead for the Peruvian, Southwest dried chili powder : chimayo style chile powder (from New Mexico), amarillo chile powder (from N. Mexico), ground aji panca (from Peru) and aji amarillo (from Peru).

“Aji” means chile pepper in Spanish. I could find no English translation of panca. Aji panca is a type of chile pepper that is commonly grown in Peru. It is dark red and mild with a smokey, fruity taste.

I also used aji amarillo. “Amarillo” means yellow. Aji amarillo is often thought of as the most important ingredient in Peruvian cooking. It is worth seeking out for its unique flavor, which offers a lot of fruitiness for its heat. It’s a different kind of fruitiness: less sharp and harsh, more full-bodied, and a lot more subtle and tastes like sunshine. This is a comforting hot chile, which may seem odd. Aji amarillo is used in many classic Peruvian dishes and I thought why not try it in a classic American dish “Chile”, the ultimate comfort food made with the comforting hot chile.

I have a beautiful clay bean pot that I bought at La Toque in Half Moon Bay.

lachamba

It is hand-crafted black clay La Chamba bean pot from La Chamba, Colombia and can go directly from microwave, stove or oven to the table top. There are no toxins in the La Chamba because no glazes are used and there is no lead in the clay. The black color comes from the firing process and the smooth, satiny finish is accomplished by hand-rubbing the surface with stones. La Chamba is exclusively made in a village in Columbia and the women and craftsmen who make these pots are their own bosses and set their own prices.

Cooking in clay is different than cooking in metal. The clay retains heat and moisture and there is less harsh steam in the pot, so food is able to cook in its own juices and not dry out. Beans, come out of La Chamba pots tasting earthier and with a creamier texture. I love this pot because it works beautifully on the stove as well as in my oven. I have a gas stove and it works perfectly on the flame. (no sticking at all). I have used this pot to make soups, beans and and braises and am always happy with the results. Somehow, the food I cook in this pot seems more infused with flavor. It keeps the food warm for a long time. It is my go to pot now, over my enameled cast iron pots. I love using this cookware and cooking with clay. It’s amazing, the food never sticks and cleanup is a breeze. So perfect, fusion chile made in a clay pot made in Columbia.

Ingredients

2 tbl olive oil

1 large white onion – diced

2 medium red onion – diced

2 celery stalks – fine dice

1 poblano pepper – diced

chicken stock – 3 cups

tomato sauce – homemade – 3 cups

1 1/2 tbl chimayo style chili powder

3/4 tsp amarillo chili powder (from N. Mexico)

1 1/2 tbl ground aji panca

1 1/2 tbl aji amarillo

½ bunch of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

3 tbl cumin

2tsp alderwood smoked sea salt

cilantro – chopped

1 ¼ pounds heirloom purple kidney beans

firm tofu- 1 ½ pounds

Method

  1. Because these beans were so fresh, no soaking was required
  2. Saute onions in olive oil until softened in clay bean pot
  3. Add celery and poblano and continue to saute
  4. Add chicken stock, tomato sauce and spices (except salt) and stir to mix
  5. Add purple kidney beans and bring to a simmer
  6. Simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender
  7. Dice fresh tofu into 1 inch pieces.
  8. Add to kidney beans.
  9. Simmer for an additional 1/2 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Add cilantro to finish

Enjoy!

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Duroc Pork and Fuji Apple Stew – Bodacious Food for Cool Fall Evenings


Bodacious Pork and Apple Stew

I love the fall and fall weather. Warm days and cool fall nights beg for food that is comforting and warming for the body and soul. Lately the evenings have been particularly cool, perhaps I am not used to the cool weather yet. I went out to find some meat to prepare a comforting, soul soothing fall meal. I happened up locally raised, Napa Milk-Fed Duroc pork (in many cuts) that I thought would fit the bill perfectly and make for a special treat. But what is so special about Duroc pork and Duroc pigs.

Duroc pigs were used as the foundational genetics of the pig industry beginning in the 20th century. In 1812, early “Red Hogs” were bred in New York and New Jersey and these would be the ancestors of Duroc pork today. The meat and the fat are superb in taste, texture with a sweetness to it. Dairy raised pork is said to be the best, the creme de la creme, with best of pork.

Milk-fed pigs are very special pigs that are selected for the great honor of being fed fresh Jersey cow milk every day of their lives. This creates a sweeter, more tender meat that really looks and tastes unlike most other pork I’ve ever tasted. Duroc meat is clean and crisp. Its taste and texture are easy on the taste buds. Duroc pork is not too fatty, not too lean, not too strong but certainly more flavorful than its farm raised counterparts.

So what to make with this delicious meat? Well fall is the time for the new crop of apples. I found some fresh fuji apples at the market. Fuji apples were first developed in 1962 at the Tohoku Research Station in Morioka, Japan. They quickly became one of the most commonly grown apple varieties in Japan and in the 1980’s they were made available in the United States where they are primarily grown in Washington State and California, my state. Fuji apples have flesh that is dense, juicy and crisp. Low in acid its flavor is mild and sweet with hints of both honey and citrus. The thick skin of the fuji apples and their dense flesh helps them hold up well in when cooked. So decided, fuji apples to pair with the Duroc pork. Apples and pork are a match made in heaven. So there was my recipe to take the chill out of the cool nights; Duroc Pork with Fuji Apples, sweetened with leeks and red onions. Perfect in fact.

Ingredients

One pound 1 ounce Duroc pork stew meat – cut into 1 inch pieces

¼ cup flour

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp alderwood smoked sea salt

2 tsp olive oil

1 cup diced leeks (about 1 large leek)

¾ cup red onion diced

1 cup diced celery

½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika

½ tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

½ tsp dried French thyme

2 cups organic beef stock

2 medium apples – cut into cut into 1/8ths

Method

  1. Mix flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper together
  2. Dredge meat with flour/salt/pepper mixture
  3. Sauté meat until browned
  4. Remove meat from pan
  5. Add diced leeks and red onions
  6. Sauté until softened
  7. Add diced celery and continue to sauté
  8. Add meat with juices back into pan
  9. Add beef stock and spices to pan
  10. Simmer for 20 minutes
  11. Add apples to pan
  12. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes until apples are softened. Add additional water if needed.

Bodacious Duroc Pork and Apples

Serve with rice and enjoy the ultimate of fall comfort foods. Wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket next to the fire. Pour yourself a nice glass of crisp German Riesling (the sweetness and acid pair perfectly with this dish) and enjoy the body warming Duroc pork and apple stew.

Bodacious Duroc Pork and Apple Stew