Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili

One of the things that I appreciate about going meatless during Lent is that it's a great impetus for me to branch out and try some new things, even if I have to go hunting for them. I had never cooked with wheat berries before. If you're curious, I found them in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods. The wheat berries added a nice chewy texture and an understated nutty flavor to this chili, which otherwise has some pretty standard chili flavors.

Normally I think of chilis as a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of food, and while this chili will fill you up, it also has some nice light, citrusy flavor from the lime, oregano, and cilantro to keep it from getting too heavy. Really, it's the perfect transitional season chili. It's still pretty chilly out there, but the days are getting longer, and I'm beginning to see the heads of daffodils poking out of the ground. So for a chilly, end-of-winter evening, this chili will have you thinking about spring.

Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili
source: Eating Well
6 servings

  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper,chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed (I used 3 cups cooked black beans.)
  • 2 14-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (I used 1 even though we like spicy food.)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 2 cups Cooked Wheat Berries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 avocado, diced (I omitted.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, chipotle to taste, broth and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. Stir in cooked wheat berries and heat through, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lime juice. Garnish each bowl with avocado and cilantro.

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