My friend Kyra is expecting her second child any day now (we hope... apparently he's a little stubborn and doesn't think he's quite ready yet). We're all quite anxious to meet him, but in the meantime, we got together a couple of weeks ago for a small, simple baby shower.
Per her request, we all brought along a few freezer-friendly dishes that can be stashed away to keep them fed during those first few hectic weeks. For my contribution, I packed up a few batches of mini corn muffins, homemade potato buns, and mini pork empanaditas that can go straight from the freezer to the oven.
I also decided to make a big pot of this Six Bean Chorizo Chili, because chili is my favourite out of all the different freeze-for-later meals in my repertoire - so much so that I usually make double or triple batches, just to make sure I'll have plenty of leftovers to freeze. I mean, what's not to love? It's hearty, it's flavourful, it's ridiculously easy to make, and it actually tastes better if you let it sit around for a few days. Plus, with the addition of a starch like rice or biscuits or cornbread, a batch of chili can go a looooooooong way.
When picking up beans for this recipe, make sure to check the label closely... some stores sell a six-bean blend that is already marinated in dressing - great if you're making bean salad, but terrible if you're making chili. If you're at all in doubt, check the ingredients to make sure the main ingredients and make sure they consist of nothing besides beans, water and salt. If you have any trouble finding a non-marinated bean blend, you can also use plain black beans or navy beans instead.
1 Spanish-style chorizo sausage
1 red or orange pepper, roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans 6-bean blend, drained and rinsed
1 can chopped tomatoes, including liquid
1 can whole-kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1 bottle dark beer or strong coffee
2 tbsp molasses
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, chipotle sauce, sour cream
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, saute the chorizo, pepper and onion over medium high heat until browned and slightly caramelized, about 5-7 minutes. Your aim here is to get a few almost-charred spots on the peppers and onions.
Add garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes longer. Stir in the remaining ingredients (except for garnish) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Serve chili right away with garnishes of your choice, or allow to cool before ladling into freezer-safe containers and storing in freezer for up to three months.