Winter makes me want warm, comforting, hearty meals. Rather than going for soup, this week, I opted for chili. The meal was exactly what I needed. Delicious. As for the grilled cheese on the side, I can only explain it by saying I really wanted one. While cooking, do you really need another reason? Also, before you say it, I know grilled cheese sandwiches are a bit of a cheat (ok, a full-on cheat) but it's literally 1 degree outside and I just don't care. Bring on the comfort food!
Three Bean Chili*
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used avocado oil)
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used yellow)
1 small onion, chopped (I used 1/2 a large red onion)
1 small jalapeno, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15.5 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed (I used small red kidney beans)
1/4 cup sour cream
Chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 avocado, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium. Add the bell pepper, onion, jalapeno and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder and cumin. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium.Simmer, stirring occasionally until the chili thickens (20-25 minutes). Season to taste. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro. (I opted for avocado over sour cream)
4 slices hearty bread of choice (I used oatmeal bread)
4 slices Muenster cheese
4 slice Havarti cheese
Heat a griddle or a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Place two slices of bread on a clean work surface and place 2 slices of each type of cheese on each slice. Top with remaining bread slices pressing gently to adhere. Generously butter both sides of each sandwich, spreading it all the way tot the edges. Place sandwiches on the griddle or skillet and cook until golden brown on each side and the cheese has completely melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side and the cheese has completely melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once. Before removing from griddle, flip sandwiches to reheat first side, about 15 seconds. Cut each sandwich diagonally in half. Serve immediately with a bowl of chili.
* Chili recipe from Every Day with Rachel Ray.
**Grilled cheese technique from Martha Stewart Living.