Chili and Corn Bread

One of the aftermaths of the surgery and treatment I had last fall and winter was to leave me with what is best described as acquired irritable bowel syndrome. It might pass with time, I was told by my doctor; meanwhile, eat a good sugar-free live-culture yogurt every day, and re-introduce foods high in fibre – especially insoluble fibre – slowly.

This meant a few adjustments to our meal-planning. Legumes – kidney beans, white beans, black beans and lentils – whether in salads, stews, soups, curries or chili – were a large part of our dinners. But the effects of eating them were far too unpleasant to ignore the doctor’s advice!  So for the last eight months they’ve been gone from our dinner table. We just ate more poultry to replace them, and hoped it wouldn’t be a permanent situation.

I went back to eating raw apples, skin and all, and raw cabbage and carrots, in the past six weeks. When there were no ill effects from those, I decided it was time to reintroduce legumes.  So this week I tried black-bean chili, served with corn muffins…and happily, all went well.  It wasn’t quite my usual chili – I used half the beans I normally do, and added some spicy turkey sausage to round out the protein, but next time I’ll add a few more beans, and leave out the meat.

It will be good to get back to eating less meat.  For all our relationship BD and I have tried to eat meat or fish (now because of his allergies only poultry meat) three times a week, choosing eggs, legumes, or cheese-based meals for the other four. Once he could no longer eat cheese, that ratio moved up to four meat-or-fish to three non-meat; and then my issues moved it to six meat-or-fish to one egg-based dinner a week.  It bothered us – there are a myriad of good reasons, for both personal health and the health and sustainability of the planet – to eat less meat.

But now I can start planning legume-based meals again, once a week to start, and we have recently re-introduced small amounts of cheese to BD’s diet without problems.  Home-made vegetarian pizza is on the menu again!  And lentil soup…and dhal…and baked beans.  Just in time for fall!

Black Bean Chili and Cornbread for Two

Two cups de-skinned and chopped Roma tomatoes (or one 19 oz can)

¼ c diced onion

½ c diced red, orange, or yellow pepper

1 c black beans, cooked (or ½ c beans and the meat from one spicy turkey dinner sausage)

½ c corn niblets – fresh or frozen

3 Tbsp chili powder

1 rounded tsp chopped garlic

Oil for browning

Brown the onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp of oil in a heavy frying pan. Add 1 further Tbsp of oil and the chopped pepper, and the sausage meat if using. Cook until the meat is brown throughout.

Put the tomatoes, the onion mix, and the black beans in a oven-proof pot or a slow cooker. Add the chili powder and stir well.

Cook in a 300 degree oven for two hours. If using the slow cooker, I cook on low for 6 hours.

Before serving, taste and adjust chili seasoning. Add the corn a few minutes before serving – it should be cooked but not mushy.

Serve with cornbread/muffins:

1 cup soymilk (or regular milk)

1 egg

2 Tbsp corn oil

¾ c flour

1 ¼ c corn meal

1 Tbsp baking powder

3 Tbsp sugar (optional – I leave it out, especially if I’m using sweetened soymilk.)

1 ½ tsp chili flakes (also optional).

Mix together the milk, egg and oil. Blend the dry ingredients together and add to the liquid. Spoon into either a greased 8″ pan, or greased muffin tins (I use silicon, so no greasing) and bake at 425 for twenty minutes. Makes 8 medium muffins if you use the muffin tins.

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