Peach season is at its peak in South Carolina.
And yes, South Carolina is second only to California in growing delectable peaches. (I was amazed to learn that Georgia, whose nickname is the Peach State, is now a distant third in peach production.) Unfortunately, the peach crops in both South Carolina and Georgia took a huge hit this year after a very warm winter was followed by an unexpected three-day freeze in March which damaged the trees that had blossomed or had already set fruit.
So while peaches are less abundant (and a little pricier this summer), I found a way to incorporate some less than perfect late summer peaches into an easy weeknight dinner for my family.
My carnivores are huge chili fans, and I probably make chili at least twice a month. Last night, my solar eclipse viewing had taken a substantial chunk of my day – so I had a major race with time to see how fast I could assemble the chili in the slow cooker so I wouldn’t be late for my yoga class.
I used Simple Truth Organic Tri-Bean Blend which combines black, kidney, and pinto beans. I love this product because it allows me to make a smaller batch of chili (using only two cans of beans), but still have a mixture of all three chili-friendly beans. What a great concept!
I also used Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes in this batch – another great organic product that gives my chili a subtle smokey flavor.
Since I’ve been trying to eat less wheat and gluten after reading Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, I decided to use Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef Crumbles for my plant-based protein. The reason? Beyond Meat’s products are both vegan and gluten-free, and uses pea protein isolate as its protein source. The Beyond Beef Crumbles come in Beefy and Feisty versions – I chose Beefy because I didn’t want to overwhelm the sweetness of the peaches, but the spiciness in Feisty might provide more contrast – so, your choice!
And don’t worry about the bourbon – the alcohol content will burn off during the cooking, leaving only the hint of its smokey richness.
Adding an unexpected ingredient like peaches to a familiar family favorite like chili can make all the difference between ho-hum and fun.
Try my peachy bourbon chili and see for yourself!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
- 1 organic yellow pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 14.5-ounce can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- 2 15-ounce cans Simple Truth Organic Tri-Bean Blend (black, kidney, and pinto), drained
- ½ cup V-8 juice
- 1 large or 2 medium peaches, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 11-ounce package Beyond Meat Crumbles - Beefy or Feisty (your choice)
- 2 tablespoons chopped organic cilantro
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat a large skillet (or Cuisinart Multi-Function slow cooker), add olive oil and sauté the chopped onion, followed by the yellow pepper and the garlic. Add cumin, cayenne, and sea salt. Feel free to double the cumin and cayenne if you like things spicy. (If using a regular slow cooker that doesn’t have a sauté function, transfer the contents of the skillet to the slow cooker at this point.)
- Add the fire roasted diced tomatoes, the drained beans, the V-8 juice, the chopped peaches, and the bourbon and cook on high for 2-3 hours.
- About 5-10 minutes before serving, add the frozen crumbles.
- Before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro, and taste for seasoning.
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