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Something to stew over
Spicy chorizo dish, banana bread cobbler warm up winter days
Warm up your winter days with black bean and chorizo soup over rice and banana bread cobbler. - photo by BRANDEE A. THOMAS

Black Bean and Chorizo Stew over Rice

3 cups rice, cooked
14 ounces of chorizo
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
2, 15 ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2, 10 ounce cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles
salt (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Crumble the chorizo into the pan and saute until lightly browned. Add the garlic and allspice and saute for another 30 seconds. Stir in the beans, tomatoes and bring to a strong simmer. Salt to taste.
Cover pan with lid, turn off heat and allow the flavors of the dish to blend together for at five minutes. Serve warm over rice.

Serves 6 to 10.

Banana Bread Cobbler

1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
½ cup butter, melted
3 medium-size ripe bananas, thinly sliced into medallions
Streusel topping
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whish together flour, sugar and milk until blended; whisk in the melted butter.
Pour batter into a lightly greased 11x7-inch baking dish. Top with banana slices and sprinkle with streusel topping.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with ice cream (optional).

Streusel Topping

¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup self-rising flour
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup uncooked regular oats
½ cup chopped pecans

Stir together brown sugar, flour and butter until crumbly using a fork. Stir in oats and pecans.

Banana Bread Cobbler recipe courtesy of Southern Living.

The weather outside may be frightful, but there's no reason why the dinner on your table should be anything less than delightful.

If the heat from a bowl of black bean and chorizo stew fresh from the stove doesn't warm you, then the spice from the green chiles will certainly do the trick.

The co-star of this dish, the chorizo, has a bit of a kick on its own — it's a spicy, Spanish sausage made from pork.
If you are interested in cutting out some of the fat in this dish, try substituting a turkey or chicken sausage for the chorizo.

To reduce the spice you can also use andouille sausage or kielbasa instead.

The dish also gets another helping hand in the spice department from two cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles. To cool things down a little more, one of the spicier cans of tomatoes can be traded out for a regular one with tomatoes only.

Before you alleviate the green chiles entirely, you should know that they are rich in vitamins A and C. They also contain vitamins B, E. The capsaicin — the chemical that makes them spicy — is also said to aid digestion, increase metabolism and helps to release endorphins that improve the consumer's mood.

Besides being packed with flavor, one of the best things about this dish is that it can be prepared from start to finish in less than 30 minutes, which makes it perfect for post-work preparation and midweek dining.

Although good as is, the stew is made even more enjoyable when coupled with the sweetness of a banana bread cobbler for dessert.

Even more delightful: If you prep the ingredients for this simple cobbler while your sausage for the stew is browning, and mix its ingredients while the stew simmers, the dessert could be ready to eat just as you're finishing up with the main course.

Total hands-on time for the cobbler is around 15 minutes. With just 10 ingredients for the dish, it's nearly foolproof.
When it comes to cobbler, most people think of peaches, apples and berries as main ingredients, but after trying this dessert, bananas just might earn their place on that list of classics.

Although the crunchy streusel topping makes for a decidedly delish dessert, the banana bread roots of this dish also make for a delightful breakfast or brunch with a fresh cup of coffee.

This cobbler is good served at room temperature, but even better when served warm.

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