Bulgar, black bean and squash chili w/ charred bok choy
When I think of chili, I think of two things — pro sports on tv and a dish with heat, not just spice. Well Super Bowl Sunday took care of the former. My goal in the latter was a deep and smoky vegetarian dish that did not induce tears or bring to mind the hot pepper scene from Dumb and Dumber. It came out pretty good — plenty deep and smoky thanks to smoked paprika, caramelized poblanos and a topping of charred greens. Bring on that cold weather!
2 lb winter squash (butternut, acorn or kabocha), peeled and cut into small chunks
1 cup cooked black beans
1 lb crushed plum tomatoes (I like a good Italian brand)
1 small head bok choy, with leaves rinsed, separate and well dried
1 fresh poblano pepper, washed, dried, sliced intro strips, seeds discarded
1 fresh cayenne pepper (or other very hot pepper), washed, dried, sliced into small rings (optionally, keep seeds for extra heat)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced into ribbons
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup dry coarse bulgar
white wine vinegar
salt + pepper
1T smoked paprika
2t hot red pepper flakes
Boil 2 cups of water in a kettle. Dump bulgar in saucepan with plenty of salt. Mix in water, cover and let sit for 20 minutes.
Caramelize peppers and onions. Heat iron skillet on medium flame, without oil. Add onions and peppers, spread evenly and cover.
Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring only once or twice. Now raise flame to medium, and add oil, salt and pepper. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Finally, add a few dashes of vinegar and let cook 5 minutes more. Turn off flame and set skillet aside.
Mix tomatoes in a soup pot with about a cup of water. Add garlic and squash and bring to boil. Stir in paprika, hot pepper and cumin and reduce flame to medium. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is fairly soft but not mushy. Stir in beans and cooked peppers and continue to cook on low flame.
Warm skillet. Dump in dry bok choy and let cook, covered, for 3-5
minutes. Add a small amount of olive oil and cook about 3 more minutes, until well browned. Cover skillet and turn off flame.
Fill about a third of a soup bowl with bulgar. Mix bulgar with chili liquid and top generously with chili. Cover with charred bok choy and scoop of yoghurt, sprinkled with smoked paprika.