Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Maybe it’s just February vibes or because we’re already thinking about Super Bowl snacks, but we have chili on the brain. If slow-cooking a piece of meat sounds good to you, too, winter farmers markets are a great place to start! We have a few variations on the chili theme below—including a non-meat option that still hits that same comfort-food note. 

If you’re thinking about traditional chile con carne, chuck roast is the cut of beef you need. You can get it from Dry Ridge Farm or Warren Wilson College Farm at ASAP Farmers Market. A three to four pound roast will make about six to eight servings. While you’re at it, pick up a few strips of bacon. Start by cooking bacon in a heavy pot until crispy. Remove, leaving the grease. Sear half-inch pieces of chuck roast in batches until browned. Remove from the pot. Add one diced onion and six crushed garlic cloves and sauté until softened. Add beef and crumbled bacon back to the pot, along with about a quart of liquid (a mix of brewed coffee, beer, stock, or water works great). Add salt and your preferred spices, such as cumin, cinnamon, clove, allspice, coriander, and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about five hours. If it gets too dry, add more liquid. 
Meanwhile, toast a variety of dried chilis, such as ancho, guajillo, pasilla, and chiles de arbol, in a dry skillet. Turn off the heat and add water to just cover the chiles and let them soak for an hour or so, until softened. Drain chilis and puree in a blender with a cup of fresh water. Stir puree into the simmering meat and continue to cook. When the meat is tender and sauce is thickened, you’re ready to eat! Top with diced onion or scallions, radishes, cilantro, and cheese—all of which you can get at markets now, too.
Thinking more outside the box? Sugar Hollow Farms (River Arts District Farmers Market) has several cuts of goat meat available, which a great opportunity to try making birria, a slow-cooked stew from the Jalisco region of Mexico. It’s prepared similarly to chile con carne by searing meat and slow-cooking with onions, garlic, and a puree of dried chiles. In addition, add tomatoes or tomatillos and a splash of apple cider vinegar to the pot. Herbs and spices typically include cumin, oregano, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Simmer for about two hours, or until meat is tender, and finish by stirring in chopped cilantro and lime juice. 
Want to skip the meat? Adding winter squash to a vegetarian bean chili lends a nice warmth and sweetness. Sauté diced onion in a large pot until translucent. You can add fresh peppers here, such as jalapeño, if you want. Add peeled and diced squash along with minced garlic, salt, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Stir to coat squash. Add about three cups of cooked beans, a cup of diced tomatoes, two cups of vegetable broth or water, and a bay leaf. Stir in a few tablespoons of canned chipotle chili (or make your own chili puree using the method above). Simmer for about an hour or until squash is tender and liquid has thickened. 
At winter markets now you’ll also find winter greens like kale and mustards, salad greens, microgreens, carrots, turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and more. Markets are also stocked with rice, pasta, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region, including winter hours, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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