During one my several attempts at earning a college degree I was enrolled in a dance BA program at a small college a little ways out of Boston. I was one of the few commuting students at the school and also in the minority of dancers who preferred ballet to tap and jazz- the main attractions for many in my program. A lot of the girls were of the Broadway-bound variety while I was busy fantasizing about being Margot Fontaine.
There were a good number of required classes that I liked even less than tap and jazz and at the top of that list was Choreography. Outside of ballet combinations, I am a terrible at coming up with my own stuff and love being given material and trying to do it well. Just give me a nice long, complicated, choreographed adagio and I will be glad to tackle it over and over again, but ask me to come up with 32 counts of something (especially something ‘contemporary’ or modern) and you will be waiting a long time. Fortunately, this fear of improvising does not extend to the kitchen. Strange, no? I LOVE looking in the fridge and cupboards and figuring out what to do with a can of coconut milk, a pepper or two, and a few nuts. That’s not to say that I don’t like following recipes, I do. But there’s nothing like making something tasty out of ‘nothing’. It feels so deliciously unexpected.
This recipe was very loosely inspired by a peanut chicken chile I read about years ago. Apparently a popular Mexican chili-making technique, is to blend all the sauce ingredients together and then ‘fry’ the sauce in some oil before adding the protein (beans, chicken etc). I love that this chili came out green, a very unintentional, but fun side-effect of basing the sauce largely on poblanos and cilantro.
Green Chili with Black Beans and Roasted Poblanos
1 cup dry black beans, soaked and cooked until tender, see note or two cans of drained black beans
2 poblano chiles, roasted and peeled, see note
1 1/2 cups drained whole, stewed tomatoes
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 seeded serano chili (or more to taste)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp epazote (optional)
salt to taste
Chop up the roasted and peeled poblanos and the stewed tomatoes and put them in a blender. Add a little of the broth and blend until somewhat smooth. Toss in the onion and more broth and blend. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the remainder of the broth and blend. The sauce should be fairly smooth, with no large chunks.
Heat 1-2 Tbs olive oil over medium-high heat, in a wide deep saute pan. When oil is hot add pour in the poblano mixture and cook for 5- 7 minutes. Add beans and cook 5 minutes more. Salt to taste. Serve over brown rice with a dollop of yogurt or cream cheese, or some crumbled goat cheese.