Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunday Meals: Southwestern-Style Brunch!

When I started writing this blog last year, Sunday dinners were my "big" family meal. Lately I've moved to brunch; it's easier for my almost 80 and almost 90 year-old parents, and, well, it's kind of nice to focus on a different meal. Like dinner, the possibilities are endless!

So this Sunday I went for a Southwestern theme: chili con carne (with fresh sour cream, cheese, and cilantro toppings), fresh-roasted tortillas, guacamole, scrambled eggs, toasted Italian bread slices, cheese (Dubliners and a very interesting gouda with pesto), jams (blood orange and mango-key lime), mixed grapes, and a salad (mixed greens, clementines and fresh tomatoes) with orange balsamic vinegar and basil oil. And to finish, dessert:  fresh blueberries, strawberries and blackberries—and brownies! The fans liked it! (Now I did make another dessert last week which would have been lovely with this meal: Peruvian-style Flan (crema volteada), which I wrote about on Friday in my Latin Twist Column!) 

Scrambled Eggs & Chili + Toppings 
Brownies, Fresh Fruit Medley, Clementines and a Pineapple

The recipe I'm going to share with you today is for the chili. This was a super-fast one. I had 2 pounds of chopped beef, and 2 cans of white kidney, well, I put 'em together! 

White bean and Beef Chili 

Serves 6 to 8 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size red onion
Red wine
2 pounds ground beef 
1 small can tomato paste
1 teaspoon chile powder 
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) 
Salt and pepper 
2 cans (15 ounces each) white kidney (or your favorite!) beans (Of course if  you have the time to soak and cook dried beans, that's always best!) 
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional...I didn't add this because my parents would have liked it!) Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped 
Shredded cheeses (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a combination!) 
Sour cream 

In a large sauté pan (or stock pot), heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until transparent. Add a splash or two of red wine and let it absorb into the onions. Then add the ground beef, tomato paste, and cook, stirring frequently. Add the spices. Once the meat is cooked, add the white beans (and jalapeño, if using). Simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning.  Garnish with cilantro, and serve with additional bowls (for self serving!) of cilantro, shredded cheese, and sour cream. (People seemed to prefer putting the chili in the tortillas!) 

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