I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chili recipe that has prawns in it. Am I stretching the boundaries of chili a tad here? Maybe.
But you’ll forgive me once you find that this recipe takes less than 30 minutes, yet delivers a full-on, soul-warming, healthy dinner. Just what you need after spending a few brisk hours in the garden, raking and bagging leaves, only to come back inside and realize that it’s your turn to make dinner too. Sound familiar?
I really felt like making a big, full-on batch of hearty chili, but it was already 6 o’clock by the time I’d bagged all the leaves for the day. I was getting hungry, and didn’t want to slip into being decidedly hangry.
With no time to dash to the store to pick up ingredients, I turned to the pantry instead and sized up what I did have: A tin of white kidney beans, some frozen prawns, a bunch of gorgeous rainbow chard along with an onion and some garlic. Hmm….I bet I could do something with this.
So here’s what I was thinking: Use the white beans as a base, flavor them with cumin and chili powders, simmer briefly to blend the flavors and then toss in the chard and prawns to cook just before serving. That, plus a squeeze of fresh lime juice and sprinkle of cilantro, was my simple, lickety-split chili.
And wow, talk about flavorful. Punching about its weight I’d say, considering I only simmered it for just over 10 minutes.
This dish, with its elegant prawns and unassuming tinned beans, is kind of like tossing on a suit jacket to dress up your jeans; a study in contrasts. It might not impress your friends who are dazzled by the latest molecular gastronomy creations. But it’ll definitely impress your friends who know what good food is all about.
The leaves have almost all floated off from their branches for another season. A few more sessions of raking before fall firmly turns to winter. When I come in after clearing up the last leaves for the season, I’ll know just what to make.
If you're craving the flavors of chili but don't have much time, white bean chili with prawns is the answer. Prawns add an elegant touch to lowly tinned beans flavored with chili and cumin, making this a dish fit to share with friends on a fall evening. Or to keep all to yourself.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chill powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 19-ounce tin white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1-1/4 cup chicken stock
- 4 rainbow chard leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces
- 20-24 peeled prawns
- juice of 1/2 lime
- kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper
- optional garnish: fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, ground cumin and dried oregano leaves and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened. (If the mixture gets too dry before it has softened, reduce the heat or a few tablespoons of the chicken stock to prevent it from burning.)
- Add the drained kidney beans and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover the pan. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the cover and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Bring the heat up to medium-low, add the chard leaves and prawns, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the chard is wilted and the prawns are cooked through.
- Ladle into two bowls, and squeeze the lime juice over each one. Sprinkle with a pinch of chopped cilantro (if using) and serve.
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