This Friday my sister returns from Jordan. That's right. Jordan as in Middle East Jordan. She's been there since right after Christmas, just under 3 weeks and I'm excited to see her, to look over her pictures and have her share her tales. And excited also to think up what to feed her, as she will have been traveling for many many hours with airplane food as her only option and I'm sure we can all agree the thought of airplane food, even on an international trip, can turn our stomachs a bit. What I came up with was a lovely recipe for a southwestern chorizo chili with black eyed peas I had recently read about. Being in a foreign country, unsure if they were available or even exist there, I'm sure she hasn't had her requisite New Years black eyed peas. And if there's anything you must have to guarantee good luck in a new year, it's that.
Every year my mother makes them and her recipe is undeniably the best, with peas and beans and a giant ham hock marinating away for over 24 hours, all coming together into a soupy stew of good luck. Last year, being back in the Northeast already, I didn't have them and thought I was fine, my year going along pretty hunky dory and then something very sad happened in November that affected not only the rest of my year but a lot of my memories of the good times in 2010 as well. Was it the lack of black eyed peas? Probably not, but you can bet I was first in line this year for my serving, not willing to take any chances regardless.
I figure though that since my sister has been in a foreign country half way across the world, not having them on the Jan 1st can be overlooked, so long as she has them as her first meal back on home soil. And I had been salivating over this delicious recipe from Homesick Texan so that's what I'm making. I find the recipes that Lisa (aka Homesick Texan) makes are always top notch and as a fellow Texan she understands the importance of a lot of things that might seem just plain silly to anyone else. My soup of course has a few tweaks but either are definitely good recipes to keep in mind for next New Years, or just for cold, snowy night.
Southwestern Chorizo Chili
2 strips bacon, sliced into 1/2" pieces
4 chorizo links- removed from casing and crumbled
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. beer
22 oz. canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 or 2 canned chipotle chiles
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp.smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp ground allspice
6 c. cooked black eyed peas in liquid or three 15-ounce cans of black-eyed peas
4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. chopped cilantro plus more for garnishing
1 c. pepper Jack, shredded
1 c. smoked cheddar
1/2 c. finely crushed tortilla chips
2 tsp. lime juice plus lime wedges for garnishing
Salt and pepper to taste
1. On medium-low, cook bacon until crisp. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add chorizo and cook until browned.
2. Pour in the beer and stir to bring up any browned bits. Add tomatoes, chipotle chiles, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano and allspice. Let reduce slightly. Add to the pot the black-eyed peas and their liquid, the chicken broth and the cilantro. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add the shredded cheese and while occasionally stirring, continue to cook until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed tortilla chips and the cooked bacon and simmer for 10 more minutes.
3. Add the lime juice and then taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and black pepper. Serve with cilantro and lime wedges.
* If you want to make this healthier, substitute bacon for vegetable oil and use low fat cheese. You can even use low fat milk or sour cream or leave out the dairy altogether depending on how creamy/cheesy you prefer. You could also cook the chorizo seperately and then blot off the oil before adding to the chili.