Fall doesn't officially start until the end of September, and yet with Labor Day over and kids in school and apples at the farmers market, I don't think people quite know what to do with themselves. Even I got a little excited and wore boots and a jean skirt today, because September just calls for it, I think. And can I tell you something that I never would have said last year or any year before that? I kind of like September.
There's just something about the way it sounds, I suppose. September. Nothing harsh about it, like the sharp quickness of June or August or March. It's just sweet and slow and puts off this warm glow, like a bonfire on a cool night or a pile of orange leaves.
A year ago, I would've refused to say such a thing. "September sucks," I would've said, and left it at that. Because it means summer is over, and winter is coming, and joy in Chicago as we know it is over. OK, so I can be a little extreme with the pessimism when it comes to the weather around here, but hey, I'm working on it. I just said I kind of like September, right? That's huge.
But of course, traces of summer remain: flip-flops at the doorway, the grill collecting dust on the porch, a swim suit in the laundry basket. Oh, and tomatoes.
Do you still have a ton of tomatoes? If you do, you should probably stuff them. No more simple tomato salads or no-cook pasta sauces -- give those tomatoes something warm and September. Black beans and chorizo should do just fine.
Think of it as pulling on a pair of comfy boots to go with the last of summer's bounty. September just calls for it.
Tomatoes Stuffed with Black Beans and Chorizo
I made this recipe up as I went along, using the standard recipe of stuffed peppers with ground beef and rice as a guide. So just know that this recipe is very, very loose. But whatever you do, be sure to break up the tomato pulp with your bare hands. Because it just feels good.
4-6 large or medium tomatoes (I used 7 smallish ones)
1 medium bell pepper, finely diced
1 small onion, diced
1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 lb Mexican chorizo sausage
Shredded Mexican cheese
Salt and pepper
Tabasco sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut off the tops of the tomatoes and carefully scoop out the insides. I used a small knife to cut a circle in the tomato, then a used a spoon to scoop the pulp. Reserve the pulp, juice, seeds and all in a large bowl, using your hands to break up the chunks. Set tomatoes in a baking dish.
Brown the chorizo in a large pan, crumbling the meat as it cooks. Meanwhile, mix the bell pepper, onion, black beans, lime juice, and jalapeno peppers with the reserved tomato pulp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add Tabasco sauce and more lime juice if needed. Pour mixture into pan with the cooked chorizo. Let cook for a few minutes, then remove from heat and add cheese.
Stuff the tomatoes carefully with the chorizo mixture and top with more cheese. Cover the tomatoes with aluminum foil and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, removing the foil during the last few minutes.
Serve with rice. Feeds two, with plenty of leftovers.