Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sweet and Sweaty Vegetarian Chili

running out of places to put it!
As I was shoveling my way out of the third or fourth "snowpocolypse" of this winter, the thought of CHILI popped into my mind and wouldn't leave. Given the 8 inches of snow that fell and the lack of places to put it, I thought about chili for a long time. What I love about chili, other than how delicious, healthy, and filling it is, is that it's usually made from ingredients I always stock in the pantry. This time, however, all I could muster up were the spices, some dried beans (too impatient to cook them. really need to order pressure cooker. ordering pressure cooker now.), and a can of tomato paste. So I ran to the store and here is what followed:
I grew those peppers!
Ingredients:
2 tb olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2-4 dried chili peppers, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed
1 cup corn (canned or frozen)
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
spices to taste: oregano, chili powder, cayenne powder, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, garlic powder, cumin, kosher salt
the line-up of all-star ingredients!
onions, garlic, carrots
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, a pinch of kosher salt, 1 tsp oregano, and chopped chili peppers. Turn heat to medium high and saute about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add garlic, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Cover and saute another 10 minutes. Add chopped red pepper, cover and saute another 5. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and corn and turn heat to high. You may want to add a cup of water with the tomato paste if you prefer your chili thinner. Season to taste with spices. I recommend starting with 1 tsp each of chili powder, cayenne powder, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp of cumin and garlic powder. Stir well, cover, and turn heat to medium-low. Cook for 30 - 90 minutes, stirring (and tasting) every 10 and lowering heat if necessary. Add spices as you go 1/2 tsp at a time until you reach your desired
level of heat!
+ sweet potato and red bell pepper
Note: if you don't have dried hot peppers, just use more red pepper flakes, cayenne and chili powders! Hot sauce works, too!

chili!
When you're ready to serve it, garnish with your favorite tortilla chips (try Food Should Taste Good in Sweet Potato, Jalapeño, or Multigrain), and some shredded cheddar (opt for one from farms closest to where you live - I'm in Boston, so I choose Vermont or NY over Wisconsin). Sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and chives (or green onions) also make excellent garnishes, as does sliced or chunked avocado!
get in my belly!
Serve alone or over brown rice or quinoa or with a baked potato! A bowl of chili is a complete meal by itself, full of protein and vitamins, but if you're serving up dinner to a hungry family, it couldn't hurt to cook some rice or bake some potatoes, right?! Leftovers get better by the day and keep in the fridge for up to a week. Yay for easy and healthy lunch later in the week!
Note to meat-eaters: If you're new to vegetarian chili, the variety of tastes and textures in this recipe should help you say buh-bye to the saturated fat, high cholesterol, colon-clogging, methane-emitting, and gasoline consuming byproducts and side effects of beef. Ground turkey, while lower in fat, isn't much better these days. Trust me, skip the rotting flesh and your body will thank you!!