One thing we have missed since living in South Africa is South American food. Our home town in the States had a population of people from south of the border, and the cuisine readily available was “muy bueno”. I am always on the look out for food that we can make with ingredients we have available, but it’s not always easy.
Tonight’s dinner was a first time shot at a recipe in my new Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that I was given as a gift this year (imported from the US, of course). It was a huge hit. Conversation around dinner was “You haven’t made this before…. please don’t stop”.
A few alterations made it a little more nutritious and didn’t take away from the flavour or texture of the dish. Next time I will add more green peppers and maybe sneak in some extra grated veggies on the sly such as zucchini (marrows) and carrot. I am sure that corn would also be a nice addition.
■1 onion, chopped
■1 green pepper, chopped
■3 cloves garlic, chopped
■1 Tb. olive oil
■1 lb minced chicken breast (leave out for a vegetarian dish)
■1 1/2 tsp chili powder (more if you want extra zip)
■3/4 tsp cumin
■Salt and Pepper for seasoning
■1 can kidney beans – drained, rinsed and slightly mashed
■1 can cannelleni beans – drained, rinsed and slightly mashed (substitute black beans if available)
■1 can pinto beans – drained, rinsed and slightly mashed
■2 c. tomato juice (or V8 style juice if available)
■1 can green chilies (I substituted one-seeded fresh green “Thai” chili, chopped fine)
Cook the onion, green pepper and garlic in the oil until softened. Add the optional minced chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. Add tomato juice, cumin and chili powder and the undrained tin of green chilies (or fresh chopped chili as preferred) Heat through.
Transfer into a 3 qt casserole, or 9×13 pan. Heat oven to 400 F or 200 C.
For the topping
In a medium bowl mix the following:
■1 cup cornmeal
■1 cup whole wheat flour
■1/2 tsp salt
■2 tsp baking powder
Add to the above ingredients
■1/4 cup canola oil
■1 1/2 c. milk
Stir until just moistened.
Grate in 2 oz cheddar cheese and 2 Tb chopped flat leaf parsley or fresh coriander leaves
Spoon over the top of the bean mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and a splash of spicy salsa for some zip.
Finish as a meal with a nice side salad and you’ve got it made! Enjoy!