Vegetarian Chili for January grayness

I spent a lot of time this afternoon flipping through cookbooks and the interwebs in search of something to make for dinner. At first I thought I wanted to make another bread and a soup, but nothing struck my fancy. I was thinking of things I had in my cabinets and remembered I brought back cans of Brooks chili hot beans from St. Louis, and thought, chili! However, I am tired of meat chili, so I wanted to branch out a bit and go for health! It is January after all, month of resolutions, not quite yet fallen by the wayside ... so I looked at the Joy of Cooking veggie chili recipe but wasn't inspired, so took my search ("veggie chili" and also "vegetarian chili") to the interwebs. I like to browse through Google images to find a picture of what I have in mind ... in this case I was thinking really hearty, vibrant in color, spicy, and with lots of vegetables. I came upon two recipes (1 & 2) which I ended up drawing from to make mine. How reductive is it to be making your chili from Epicurious (Bon Appetit, 2002) and a blogger's chili, which is adapted from two cookbooks' recipes for chili? Very. But you know, that's the awesome thing about chili, it is a recipe in constant flux, to the benefit of eaters everywhere.

Brooks chili hot beans might just be the most delicious prepared chili beans in existence, and very sadly, are not available in the PNW. I love them despite the dreaded HFCS listed on the label, they're just that awesome. At any rate, I wanted to use them in the chili. So at the store I purchased a can of 15 oz. black beans and a can of dark red kidney beans, which I love. I learned something by reading the label at the store; some dark red kidney beans are prepared in sugar and salt, and others, just in salt. Even though they were .30 more, I went with the sugar free variety, because it just seems like a weird thing to include sugar in a can of beans. In that aisle I also picked up a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, and a small can of corn . . . Do I need to walk you through my entire grocery experience? Perhaps not. Let's proceed to the cooking.

So, okay, here is what I did, which is adapted from the recipes above.

Food processored to fine dice two yellow onions, one red pepper, and one orange pepper.

Measured out all my spices: 3 & 1/2 T chili pepper, 1 & 1/2 T cumin, 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I just heaped a 1/2 tsp and it was plenty), 1/8 t cayenne pepper (for me, this is about two or three shakes from the jar), 1 and 1/2 tsp coriander (I don't know exactly what this does for flavor, not too familiar with it in cooking), 1 tsp oregano, and 1/2 tsp salt. Later I threw in a few shakes of cinnamon, but I say include it with this group of spices, as it will get soaked up with everything else. I just tasted the chili (it's in progress as I write, and it's rather spicy - in a really great way. I think it needs just a little more salt, which I will throw in when I'm done cooking).

Alex recently reminded me that I do actually own a garlic press that he gave me, and so, in his honor, I used it to press out six cloves of garlic. Fun!

So, I threw a few tablespoons of olive oil into my stock pot, then added in the veggies, the garlic, and the spices, and cooked them until soft. Ten to fifteen minutes does this. I cook this kind of stuff on 5 or so on the electric stove, stirring frequently so it doesn't stick or burn, which is gross, and also, *not* delicious.
I drained and rinsed the black and kidney beans, and just added in the chili hot beans as is (was?). Then I threw in the 28 oz can of tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, 6 oz I think (I really like this in chili), and because it was way too thick, nearly an entire 28 oz can of water to get the consistency I wanted. Add in batches if you don't want your chili to get too thin. 

Bring this up to a boil. Then taste to be sure the chili is doing what you want it too, and if not, add more spice to your needs. Then reduce the heat to low and let it come together for about an hour. Kill time. Check facebook, write blog posts, read people's reviews of the above mentioned recipes, and so forth. About ten minutes before you finish this cooking, add in a small drained can of yellow corn - or white, if you prefer, I like yellow in chili.

In the end, I hope yours looks as good as this:

 The sour cream and cheese cool down the spiciness a bit, plus, the taste! The cinnamon gives this chili kind of an extraordinary fragrance. I also decided to whip up some sweet corn muffins while I waited, they make a nice side. I hear it's a LOT colder in other parts of the country right now ... hope this warms you up.

**After eating note: this chili is freaking awesome. A definite keeper. Also, mine made about 13 cups, so this is great for leftovers.**

1 comment:

Julie Verdini said...

Mmmm... yes, please!