Meatless Monday: Zucchini Chili
Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.
Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?
The dog days of summer will inevitably call for cooling salads and chilled soups. But before those evenings of endless humidity hit, consider a make-ahead meal that merges the best of two seasons. Rachael's zucchini chili revamps the quintessential winter dish to use summer's best (and most abundant) bounty. Chopped zucchini gets a spicy kick from cumin, coriander and poblano peppers. Deglaze the pan with beer, then serve the light vegetarian stew over spinach-cilantro rice or as a standalone bowl topped with crushed tortillas.
1 1/2 pounds firm small to medium-size zucchini, chopped into small dice
Toppers to choose from: crushed tortillas or warm soft tortillas, sour cream, shredded cheeses, scallions or finely chopped onions, lime wedges
Char the skins of the poblano chiles by placing them over a gas burner or under a hot broiler with the oven door slightly cracked. Turn the chiles until the skins are black. Remove and cool the chiles in a tightly covered bowl, then peel and finely chop or process into coarse puree in food processor.
Heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat and add zucchini, onions, garlic, hot pepper, cumin, coriander, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper, stir frequently for 10 minutes. Add in the tomato paste, and stir 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with beer, stir in poblanos and beans and about half of the stock, bring to a bubble then reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes to combine flavors. Cool completely, cover and store for make-ahead meal. Reheat over medium heat.
While the chili reheats make the rice. Melt the butter in a saucepot over medium heat and add the rice, toast a minute or 2, then stir in 1 1/2 cups stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook covered, over low heat 15 minutes.
To food processor, add the spinach, cilantro, if using, and a little salt, and pulse into a fine paste. Stir the paste into the rice after 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the rice stand another 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve in shallow bowls with zucchini chili and toppings of choice to garnish.