Saturday, September 08, 2007

Scrumptious Vegetarian Chili

I'm completely aware that there're some people who don't appreciate a big bowl of chili during the summer. "It's really a cold weather food," they argue, "why would you want something hot when it's already so damn hot outside?" These are typically the same people who refuse to eat cold pizza for breakfast and eschew having pancakes for dinner.

In fact, a family member of mine used to scowl at anyone who dared to drink a glass of orange juice after 10am. She thought it was a Cardinal Sin to consume "breakfast items" at an "inappropriate time" of day.


Sometimes I'd roll out of bed around noon, come downstairs, and wearily fill a skinny little glass with juice. Just as I was getting comfortable, a giant "ahem" could be heard from the corner of the kitchen. This noise was typically followed by a subtle jab, masquerading as a pleasant greeting.

"Well, goodAFTERNOON," she'd say, eyes quickly moving from the microwave clock to the offending glass of O.J.

(I loved how she took the time to emphasize the fact that it was, indeed, after noon. And that I was, indeed, drinking orange juice.)

"Goodmorning to you," I'd smile back, ignoring her fighting words.

"Want some juice?"

Thus, in honor of that family member, I present to you this warm-September-day chili. I based this recipe on one from a Food Network chef, although I modified it to fit my liking. I served the chili over brown rice, and topped it with a home-made spice blend and some crackers. It would probably be equally delicious on it's own, or even over small shell pasta. The recipe makes a ton, but that's never been a problem for this "Food Rule" breaker...

Recipe: Scrumptious Vegetarian Chili
(serves six)

2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 - 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, & chopped
1 cup red bell peppers, seeded & chopped
2 cups yellow onions, chopped
2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, & chopped
4 cups canned black beans, rinsed & drained
1 (15 oz) can organic tomato sauce
1 cup veggie stock
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Spicy Garnish (mix ingredients together in a small bowl)
1 1/4 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp. dried thyme
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. cayenne

1.) Heat the oil over med-high heat in a large pot.
2.) Add the garlic, serrano peppers, red peppers, & onions to the pot. Stir until soft, about 3 mins.
3.) Add the corn, stir, & allow to cook for 5 mins or so.
4.) Add the cumin, chili powder, salt, & cayenne to the pot, & stir while cooking for about 30 seconds.
5.) Add the tomatoes, stir.
6.) Add the beans, tomato sauce, & veggie stock, stir well.
7.) Bring the chili to a boil, & then reduce heat. Allow it to simmer for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
8.) After 20 mins, remove from heat & stir in the cilantro.
9.) Serve alone, or over brown rice or small pasta shells. Top with a generous sprinkle of the Spicy Garnish.

Optional: Also top with diced onions, sour cream/vegan sour cream, & oyster crackers.
vegetarian chili

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