Monday, February 21, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

Hi again,

Here's an easy meal everyone likes. I brought a batch to church recently and it disappeared quickly. You can spice it up or leave out the chipotle in adobo. I think it adds an important element, but use sparingly as it can really get hot. Chipotle peppers are ripe jalapeƱos which have been smoked, and adobo is a sauce made of tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt, and spices like cumin and oregano.

The "ground crumbles" are optional, but everyone I know who has tried this chili had no idea it wasn't prepared using an animal product. If you don't tell them it's vegetarian, they won't know. And, you get to avoid browning and draining off ground beef.

Be nice to your future self: make a double batch, label & date, and freeze.

Helpful hint: Recipes generally use a small amount of chipotle in adobo. Find the small cans in the Mexican/Latino area of your grocery. Chop the peppers in the can, pour and freeze them in a labeled and dated zip-top bag. They are easily available the next time you need them without any waste.


Vegetarian Chili (6 to 8 servings)

2 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped small
1 stalk celery, chopped small
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped chipotle in adobo (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
½  teaspoons salt
1 12 oz. bag ground crumbles (in vegetarian section of grocer's freezer. I use Boca brand.)
1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes or 4 cups finely chopped fresh tomatoes and juice (if you have a garden full)
4 cups water or tomato juice
1 can red kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, pepper, and garlic and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until veggies are soft but not browned. Mix in chipotle, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt. Add crumbles, tomatoes, and tomato juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer over low heat, uncovered, 45 minutes. Add beans and simmer 30 minutes more.

Serve with condiments as desired: shredded cheddar jack, sour cream, corn chips, green onion, avocado, and/or jalapeƱo slices.