Friday, April 5, 2019

Quinoa Chili for the People


Another chili! I've been stoked on soups, stews, and chili this past few months. Southern California has been uncharacteristically wet and cold this past winter, so warm bowls of yummy always comfort the body and soul, but now it's spring so it's time to lighten it up a bit. But, I'm not quite ready to give up on the bowls of comfort quite yet! This hearty, yet light, chili is chock-full of veggies (You can literally swap out any seasonal veggies when making this!), beans, quinoa, and hominy.


The inspiration for this dish is decolonization. I know. I'm hardly the one to talk about it, as you can probably tell, I'm just about as white as one can get, and I'm pretty sure some of my ancestors were responsible for colonizing this land in the first place. But! That does not mean I am not open to listening, learning, and hearing what folks have to say about it. And that is exactly what I did here.

Each year, I do a cooking demo and provide the food for one of Living Ubuntu's events. This year it is the Earth Day 2019 - Protect our Species event. And each year I am given a theme and a challenge to create a dish that matches the theme, as well as meets several dietary guidelines. This year's challenge was to decolonize the meal. Thankfully, Audrey Waight, one of the Planning Members of Living Ubuntu, sent me to Decolonize Your Diet and shared some of her knowledge to help me create this recipe.

It's fascinating to learn about Mesoamerican Cuisine and the traditional healing foods, herbs, and spices. In this dish, I use epazote. It's medicinal qualities aid in digestion, which makes it an excellent choice to add to beans! I would encourage all of you to read more about it, not only the diet itself, but decolonization as a whole. Decolonize Your Diet is a great place to start.

Okay, enough chit chat. Let's get to the recipe...


Quinoa Chili
Serves 16

2 tablespoons neutral flavored vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups pinto beans, plus 1 cup cooking liquid
3 cups hominy, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh epazote (about 3 leaves)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 fresh Anaheim chile, seeded and diced
1 fresh Pasilla pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 pounds chopped seasonal vegetables
6 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1/4 to 1 cup masa harina
salt to taste
For garnish: chopped green onion, cilantro, sliced avocado, pepitas

In a large pot with a lid, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 5-7 minutes, or until translucent, fragrant, and beginning to brown. Add garlic and saute additional 2-3 minutes.

Add in remaining ingredients except quinoa, masa harina, and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stir in quinoa, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 30 minutes, quinoa should have "sprouted its tails." Stir in masa harina 1/4 cup at a time to thicken up to desired consistency. Add salt, to taste.

To serve, drizzle liberally with Cilantro Lime Cashew Sauce (see below) and garnish with green onion, cilantro, and pepitas.

Cilantro Lime Cashew Sauce
Makes 2 cups

1 cup raw cashews, soaked, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup cilantro (about 1 bunch)
salt to taste

Add cashews, oil, water, lime juice and garlic to the blender and puree until very smooth.

Add in cilantro and pulse until blended but specks of cilantro still remain. Add salt, to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni