Courgette Chilli

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm small to medium-size courgette, chopped into small dice
  • 2 onions, chopped into small dice
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red or green hot chilli pepper, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, palmful
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, palmful
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram, 1/3 palmful
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup long grain white or light brown rice
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves, optional
  • Toppers to choose from: crushed tortillas or warm soft tortillas, sour cream, shredded cheeses, scallions or finely chopped onions, lime wedges

Char the skins of the poblano chillies by placing them over a gas burner or under a hot broiler with the oven door slightly cracked. Turn the chillies until the skins are black. Remove and cool the chiles in a tightly covered bowl, then peel and finely chop or process into coarse puree in food processor.

Heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat and add zucchini, onions, garlic, hot pepper, cumin, coriander, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper, stir frequently for 10 minutes. Add in the tomato paste, and stir 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with beer, stir in poblanos and beans and about half of the stock, bring to a bubble then reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes to combine flavors. Cool completely, cover and store for make-ahead meal. Reheat over medium heat.

While the chilli reheats make the rice. Melt the butter in a saucepot over medium heat and add the rice, toast a minute or 2, then stir in 1 1/2 cups stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook covered, over low heat 15 minutes.

To food processor, add the spinach, coriander, if using, and a little salt, and pulse into a fine paste. Stir the paste into the rice after 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the rice stand another 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve in shallow bowls with courgette chilli and toppings of choice to garnish.

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