Cooking, Fast and Slow

We've got 3 'Kitchen Express' dishes and a seasonal chili for this week's delicious dinners

Today we offer three recipes from Kitchen Express, Mark’s cookbook from 2009 which is every bit as useful today, in that every recipe is designed to take 20 minutes or less. As a result, they’re written in a different format than the traditional ingredient-instruction setup. If you’d like, let us know what you think of the format in the comments.

The more leisurely recipe for the week is on-point for fall, bulgur chili, in which bulgur takes the place of ground meat, providing body and thickening power. While this recipe isn’t necessarily “slow” —the preparation and cooking are relatively fast — but like most stews, this will taste better the next day. All sorts of vegetables can be incorporated: corn kernels; chopped zucchini, squash, carrots, celery, and more. Add them in Step 1. Beans are not essential, though they can easily be added (see the first variation).

This brings us to our Friday discussion: We’ve noticed more chili dishes abound, with a Tex-Mex version sold at one of our favorite newish NYC restaurants, Yellow Rose, in which the beef chili is laced with cumin and cilantro. Other versions around the country have loyalists such as this collection from Dallas and Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili that, yes, it’s a chili chain, but it’s a chain that has birthed limited edition chili-dog sneakers.

We are asking you to tell us about your favorite chili. Where can we try it or how do we make it? Beans or no beans? Beef or no beef? —on Friday, October 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. EST, right here: We’ll send you the link. And thanks for reading.

Bulgur Chili

Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: 1 hour, mostly unattended


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 bell peppers (any color), cored, seeded, and chopped

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2-4 cascabel, guajillo, ancho, or other dried red chiles, soaked, cleaned, and chopped

  • 3 cups chopped ripe tomatoes (about 2 pounds) or canned tomatoes (whole or chopped; don’t bother to drain)

  • 4 cups vegetable stock, chile-soaking liquid, or water, or a combination

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 cup bulgur or other quick-cooking grain

  • Sliced scallions, chopped fresh cilantro, grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, and sour cream for garnish


1. Put the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste until it’s evenly distributed and begins to color, another minute or 2. Add the chiles, tomato, stock, chili powder, and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

2. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit until the bulgur is tender, about 15 minutes. Garnish as you like and serve hot. Or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before reheating gently.

Bulgur Chili with Beans
Add 2 to 3 cups cooked or drained canned kidney, pinto, black, or other beans in Step 2. Omit the cheese and sour cream garnishes.

Smoky and Hot Bulgur Chili
Add 2 to 4 chopped canned chipotle chiles, with some of their adobo sauce to taste, in Step 1. Omit the cheese and sour cream garnishes.

Ultimate Vegan Chili
Add as much or as little as you want: Combine the first two variations, adding beans and chipotles to the chili. Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger in Step 1 for extra spice. In Step 2, add 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels or any of the other vegetables listed in the headnote. Omit the cheese and sour cream garnishes.

Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian


Spicy Escarole with Crouton and Eggs

You might add a bit of dried oregano, or garlic, or both to the croutons before toasting.


Northern Beans with Spanish Chorizo

You can use any cooked sausage you like here, but chorizo is special.


Seared Cauliflower with Olives and Bread Crumbs

To make this budget recipe more substantial, start the recipe by frying sausage, chicken, or tofu in the pan first; break the meat or tofu into chunks as it cooks.