On a chilly winter night, a rich chili will keep you warm

On a cold night, there are few things more satisfying than a warm bowl of hearty chili. It’s tasty, easy to make and inexpensive — even if you’re cooking for a large group.

This recipe calls for bulgur, which is the wheat product used in tabbouleh. Bulgur, which is high in fiber and nutty-tasting, imparts in the chili a texture similar to that of ground beef or turkey, but without the fat or cholesterol. Healthy black beans also work perfectly in this dish, and the combination of the bulgur and beans with the spices is just golden.

The other thing that sets this chili apart is that it takes relatively little time to make. We often think of chili as a dish that takes hours to cook, but this chili can be ready in about an hour, which makes it ideal at the end of a long day. It also keeps very well when frozen — I sometimes make a big batch of it on Sunday and freeze it in portion-size containers, which I take to work.

Because the chili is on the filling side, I like to serve it with a light Mexican slaw.

Bulgur–Black Bean Chili

Serves 4-6

1⁄2 cup coarse whole wheat bulgur

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 small onion, coarsely chopped (set aside about 2 Tbs. for garnish)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 green jalapeno, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

21⁄2 Tbs. chili powder

2 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cumin

3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 14-oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained

salt to taste

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped coarsely (for garnish)

plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (for garnish)

In a medium-size saucepan, bring 1 cup of water and a dash of salt to a boil. Add the bulgur and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 min. or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, jalapeno and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently until onion is soft, being mindful not to burn the garlic.

Add the chili powder, oregano, paprika and cumin and stir until the oil is absorbed. Stir in the tomatoes and break them up with the back of a spoon. Stir in the beans, salt and bulgur and simmer, covered, 45 minutes to one hour.

Serve garnished with chopped white onion, fresh cilantro and dollops of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

Mexican Slaw

Serves 4-6

1 medium head cabbage, shredded or sliced thinly

2 carrots, shredded

1 small red onion, minced

1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly

1⁄4 cup honey

1⁄2 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

1⁄2 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. salt

1⁄2 tsp. celery seed

1⁄4 tsp. pepper

1⁄4 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

Combine cabbage, carrots, onion and green bell pepper in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, vinegar, mustard, salt, celery seed, pepper, oil and parsley. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss well to coat.

Gabi Moskowitz is the clergy assistant at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, a caterer and cooking teacher. Follow her adventures in and out of the kitchen in her blog, www.gabimoskowitz.com.


Gabi Moskowitz
Gabi Moskowitz

Gabi Moskowitz is the co-author of “Hot Mess Kitchen” and the co-producer of “Young & Hungry,” a Freeform comedy currently in its fifth season. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Evan. She can be reached at brokeassgourmet.com.