After a brutal summer of high humidity and temperatures, October provides assurances that fall is truly in progress with cool days and chilly nights that beg for comfort food. It’s the signal Trio’s owner and chef Capi Peck can’t wait to feel.
Photography by Cindy Momchilov
[dropcap]After[/dropcap] a brutal summer of high humidity and temperatures, October provides assurances that fall is truly in progress with cool days and chilly nights that beg for comfort food. It’s the signal Trio’s owner and chef Capi Peck can’t wait to feel.
“I love it when it cools down. It’s time to make chili, which is the epitome of comfort food,” states Peck.
No need to look at the calendar for Peck. Her customers also react to the weather with an innate response for warm dishes. “In the spring and summer diners want salads and fruit; when it’s cool people want ‘stick to your ribs’ kind of things,’” she says laughing.
Peck was kind enough to share with us Trio’s veggie black bean chili. “I promise you won’t miss the meat, it’s full of so much good stuff, not to mention it’s fast and easy to make.” In addition, we have Trio’s shrimp étouffée and French lentil soup to add variety to any autumn meal.
Capi’s Black Bean Chili
- 4 c. dried black beans, sorted and picked over
- 4 c. diced tomatoes (canned) with their juices
- 2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 c. diced green chilies
- 2 bunches green onions, chopped
- ½ c. olive oil
- 2 T. ground cumin
- 2 T. whole cumin seed
- 3 T. dried oregano
- ½ t. cayenne
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 T. plus 1 t. paprika
- 3 T. minced jalapeño peppers
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 t. kosher salt
- 2 c. white wine
- ¼ c. sugar
Garnishes: Grated Monterey jack cheese, grated sharp Cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro and sour cream.
Sort beans carefully and rise well. Place in a large stockpot and cover with water. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, uncover and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until beans are tender. Add water if necessary to keep ‘just-covered’.
Heat olive oil in skillet and sauté onions, peppers, jalapeños, garlic, chilies, green onions and whole cumin seeds. Sauté, stirring often for 5 more minutes. Add the vegetable spice mixture to the cooked beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Add white wine and diced tomatoes with their juices. Heat through, about 20 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Serve in a bowl with the garnishes above and a blue corn muffin or jalapeño cornbread.
Yield: about 4-5 quarts
Capi’s ‘sopper tips’
Chilies, soups and stews beg for something to ‘sop up’ any remaining goodies in the bowl. “I’m a sopper,” she confesses. “We serve a blue cornmeal muffin with fresh corn and cheddar jack cheese that’s wonderful with chili. Pick your favorite—French bread, crackers, pita bread, the options are many!”
French Lentil Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 16 slices slab bacon, cut into small dice
- 3 medium white onions, small dice
- 6 carrots, small dice
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 cups kale, washed, tough stems removed, torn or cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 cups small green French lentils, (Puy lentils) rinsed and picked over for stones
- 2 Tablespoons herbes de Provence
- 18 cups (4 1/2 quarts) chicken stock
- Kosher salt to taste
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Grated Asiago cheese
Heat olive oil in stockpot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until most of its fat has rendered, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add onion, carrots, garlic and kale. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is just tender, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, herbes de Provence and chicken stock; cook until lentils are tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Add salt and crushed red pepper.
Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Garnish: grated Asiago cheese
Yield: about 6 quarts.
Seasoning mix ingredients
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup corn oil
- 1/2 lb. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 7 cups seafood stock (You can make this with a purchased seafood stock concentrate and water or make your own stock from your shrimp shells. Or, in a pinch, substitute vegetable stock.)
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
Peeled shrimp (allow 5-7 shrimp per person – or more, depending on the size)
Cooked rice for serving – allow about 1 cup of rice per person.
Yield about 5-6 servings