February 14, 2018

Black Rice Navy Bean Turkey Chili

Part of the low-key homebound lifestyle I've been living is getting back into the swing of regularly cooking delicious meals from scratch with a focus on how I can make traditional staples healthier without negatively affecting the deliciousness.

Leftovers for tomorrow!
One of the things I've been doing quite a bit of is cooking in bulk and taking advantage of the freezer.  I'm regularly making a full pound of dried beans or rice when I only need 1/2 or 1/4 pound for the recipe and then just freezing the rest.  I'm also likely to double or quadruple things like soups and sauces and freeze the remainder.  I've also been experimenting with adding additional vegetables to traditional legume and grain preparations.

So, we've been eating very well out of the freezer. E's requested Butternut Squash Gnocchi Bolognese resulted in a fresh-made hosted dinner for 7 plus 3 more defrosted meals over the next 4 months (feeding 3, 2, and 2).  Then there's been lentil soup, vegetarian minestrone, excess broccoli, and more, that at various points, I've reached in, defrosted, and used to make a delicious meal.

Tonight, I had quite a bit of black rice in the fridge.  Plus I had frozen navy beans from the last time I made a navy bean soup.  And, I had some ground turkey.  I put them all together for a great Chili-esque stew.  Making this stew in one night would be quite the undertaking, but I'd done it over a couple of weeks.  All told, it was awesome.

1. Black Rice:

4-6 stems celery
1 large white or yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
3 carrots
1 lb black rice
2 Tbsp salt
olive oil

Mince celery, onion, garlic & carrots.  Sautee in olive oil for 2+ minutes.   Add black rice and sautee.  Add 5 Cups water and salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Stir occasionally.  Add water if too dry.  Cook until water is all gone and rice is al dente.  45 minutes is likely good.  Turn off heat and stir in pot as it cools down to allow excess water vapor to evaporate.  Take 1/4 to 1/2 of rice and put into Tupperware in fridge.  Spoon remaining rice into ziplock bags, push flat to 1 inch wide, label them with the date, and freeze.

Very good for adding to salad bowls.

2. Navy beans

1 carrot
1 medium onion
1 celery stem
1-4 cloves garlic
5 sprigs rosemary leaves removed from stems
salt to taste
1 lb beans

Optional: Soak beans in warm water for 1 hour+.  Toss water and rinse.

Place all ingredients in large pot, cover with 8 Cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Cook until beans are al dente (30-60 minutes depending on soaking, bean age, etc.)

Remove beans from cooking liquid with sieve.

Immediately use some of the freshly cooked beans for something like Creamy Broccoli White Bean Soup, substituting for canned beans.  Blend the carrot, onion, and celery into the soup's base as well, combining with water or bean cooking liquid in lieu of vegetable stock.

Put remaining unused cooked beans into ziplock bags of 1 inch layer, air removed, labeled with the freezing date for future use.

Freeze leftover cooking liquid for future use as vegetarian stock.

Pre-cooked beans are great for salad bowls and soups.

3.  Black Rice Navy Bean Turkey Chili

1/2 large white onion, diced.
5 cloves garlic, minced.
Olive Oil
1/2 lb ground turkey
2 C pre-cooked black rice (see above)
1.5 C frozen pre-cooked white beans (see above)
1 - 28 Oz. Can of tomato pulp (I'd prefer to use canned garden tomatoes, but I don't have any since I didn't have a garden last year).
chili powder
red pepper flakes
1-4 Cups water

-Sautee first 3 ingredients together until onions are translucent.
-Add turkey and sautee until fully white (no longer pink).
-Add all additional ingredients and bring to a simmer.
-Cook under cover for 20 minutes, adding water as necessary to keep the consistency appropriate.

Enjoy immediately with minced chives and shredded cheese on top.  Serves 4-6.

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