Friday, January 28, 2011

Recipe: Southwestern Corn & Beans

Right off I have to warn you about an error in this post - the name of the recipe as listed in the book is incomplete. I got to work today and forgot to write it down. I'll fix it tomorrow, I promise.

As I've said recently, Kyle and I have been using our wonderful new slow cooker on a weekly basis. This is one of our favorite recipes taken from Crock Pot brand's Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes. We've made it at least 3 times now, and I know we'll continue to make it. I prefer it as a lunch dish.

Ingredients: 1 tablesp. olive oil; 1 large onion, diced; 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, diced; 1 glove garlic, minced; 2 15oz. cans light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed; 1 bag frozen corn, thawed; 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained; 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces; 2 teasp. medium-hot chili powder; 3/4 teasp. salt; 1/2 teasp. cumin; 1/2 teasp. black pepper; sour cream or plain yogurt (optional); sliced black olives (optional).

Instructions: Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno pepper and garlic, cook five minutes. Combine onion mixture, beans, corn, tomatoes with juice, bell pepper, chili powder, salt, cumin and black pepper in slow cooker; mix well. Cover. Cook on low 7-8 hours OR on high 2-3 hours. Serve with sour cream and black olives, if desired.

What's positive about this recipe:
1. It's exceptionally easy to make. Several of the items come ready to serve (frozen corn and canned foods), so you'll only have to prep the bell pepper, onion and jalapeno.

2. It's hearty, a great winter dish.

3. Nice for vegetarians. Substantial with protein (kidney beans) and several good veggies, in red, green and yellow.

4. It's visually appealing. All those nice colors!

5. It looks like it contains a lot of ingredients, but you probably already have most of these on hand. Every few weeks I buy a mesh bag full of yellow onions, so I've always got some for the many soups, casseroles and slow cooker recipes that require them. The spices are all common ingredients you would use in Mexican foods or chilis, and what cook doesn't have salt, pepper and olive oil in the pantry? (If you are without these things, don't tell anyone or you'll embarrass yourself.)

What I would change:
1. This recipe serves 6. If you have a smaller family, you can modify it by using only 1 can of kidney beans and half a bag of corn. I wouldn't cut down on the bell pepper though, because it may be the best flavor, and will definitely be your freshest vegetable.

2. You can easily lower the level of spiciness by using only 1 jalapeno or cutting out this ingredient altogether, or raise it by adding a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the mix.

3. You can make this recipe super, super simple by just throwing everything into the pot without cooking the onion, etc. in the skillet beforehand. This will work better if you're going the 7-8 hour low temp route, because after that long, anything is going to be soft and cooked thoroughly.

4. I reduce the garlic by half. A whole clove of garlic? That's just way too much for most people. If you use that much, you won't taste anything else, which would be a shame.

Verdict: Excellent, lively dish that's easy to make.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds good. I might try it with black beans rather than the kidney, Ben is picky. That of course is when we get back to cooking more than Bertolli skillet meals.