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Thursday, October 29,2009

Try this simple, nutritious meal before trick-or-treating

By Susan M. Selasky

Candy? Check.

Costumes? Check.

But how about dinner? Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, leaving more time to prepare dinner before trick-or-treating begins—and the kids dive into their candy.

Chef Aaron Wynn of Whole Foods Market at Cranbrook Village, Ann Arbor, offered this easy meal: a steaming bowl of hearty buffalo chili served with moist cornbread and topped off with some festive lemon cookies.

Buffalo meat can be pricey compared with ground beef, but it’s lower in fat and cholesterol. At a local grocery , it was $6.99 a pound.

“I like the ground buffalo because it is leaner and hearty,” says Wynn, who cautioned that “because it has little fat, you have to be ready for it. If you overcook it, the meat will be dry.”

And, he said, it’s even better when prepared a day ahead—a bonus for busy families.

A blend of mild peppers makes it kid-friendly.

“The adobo gives the chili the smokiness,” says Wynn. “But I tend to go mild when serving the masses.”

You can’t serve chili without cornbread. Wynn’s recipe uses buttermilk instead of milk, which makes it super moist.

BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD

Makes: 9 squares / Preparation time: 10 minutes Total time: 45 minutes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup unbleached pastry flour or sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tablespoon honey

4 tablespoons melted butter, more for the baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cornmeal; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk with eggs and honey. Whisk in the melted butter. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry until just combined. Pour batter into the pan. Bake 30 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

BUFFALO BILL CHILI

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 30 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

This recipe has a long list of ingredients but it comes together quickly.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 pounds ground buffalo meat

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 poblano or Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

Sea salt, to taste Ground pepper, to taste

1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

2/3 cup low-sodium beef broth

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo

1 bay leaf 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 bunch green onions, green parts only, sliced in rounds, for garnish Chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a large pot (about 4-quart capacity) with a lid, heat oil over medium heat and add ground buffalo meat. Brown meat, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook for about five minutes or until all meat is browned. Remove from pot and discard excess fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pot.

Add the onion, red and green bell peppers and poblano pepper and cook over medium heat for about five minutes, scraping the bottom from time to time to get all the browned bits of meat folded in with the vegetables. Add the jalapeño pepper and cook for another three minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the garlic, cook for another minute and then add cumin, oregano, coriander, ancho chile powder, salt and pepper. Let spices cook for another minute, stirring.

Return browned meat to the pot. Stir in tomatoes and beef broth, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, adobo sauce and bay leaf, stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 30 minutes.

Add beans and continue simmering, covered, for another 10 minutes or until beans are warmed through. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Serve in bowls and garnish with green onions and chopped cilantro.

From Aaron Wynn, chef, Whole Foods Market at Cranbrook Village, Ann Arbor, Mich. Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

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