Monday, March 04, 2013

in the kitchen with sillymortalmama: CHILI!

okay, so i'm starting off this week of plant based cooking and recipes SUPER DUPER easy. i know i know you're all like CHILI? snooze. i will admit it seems like kind of a 'cheat' to me to include it, but this is a wonderfully delicious and hearty vegan chili and you should have it in your arsenal of recipes! if you're a meat eater don't start rolling your eyes and clicking away!!! i promise you the finished dish belies the simplicity of the recipe. and it is so good with more complex layers of flavor than you might be used to with *just* a bean chili that it will have ALL the eaters you know asking for seconds. it's easy enough for younger and new cooks, plus it tastes even better the next day and it makes a TON. so that means it's good for a crowd, pre-cooking for a party, for the week, leftovers for another recipe (tacos, enchiladas, topped with a fried egg for breakfast), or for freezing.

i do need to mention that it can be a *bit* spicy depending on the intensity of your chili powder, how much cayenne you're used to using, and the size of your jalapeno (that's what she said.). i will say that the spice is a key component of the finished dish, especially as the flavors meld over a day or so. we do full spice, but feel free to adjust accordingly. you're not going to ruin it by going less spicy.

also, this recipe uses TVP which is textured vegetable protein. it's totally old school that way and i'm not, as a rule, a fan of analog meats. BUT it really works in this recipe and can be the tie that binds your reluctant meat eaters to it! i've never eliminated it but if you want to eliminate it go ahead. just skip the TVP and water step and move forward. though i will say you might want to dial back the spices a bit for the substitution. the TVP adds volume to the dish and eliminating it means you'll be tweaking the amount of spices to compensate for the loss of volume.

this recipe comes from 150 Vegan Favorites by Jay Solomon and we have been making it for well over a decade. my mother in law has the book and i copied the recipe from her after she made it for us. so FYI this is a typed out copy of a handwritten copy of the original. and, it's the only dish in the book i've made so i can't vouch for any of the rest of the recipes he has.

Vegan Chili

1 TBS canola oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded & minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded & minced
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 cup water
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 TBS chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat the oil in a medium-large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and the jalapeno/serrano, cooking and stirring about 5 minutes.

Add the TVP and water, turn heat to medium-low, and cook 5 minutes more stirring occasionally.

Add in both cans of tomatoes, the beans, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat back to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with tortillas or cornbread and top with (though it's delicious enough without); chopped onions, grated cheese, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, etc.

Cook's notes:

*canned beans and tomatoes make this a super easy and convenient recipe to make and taste delicious! i do want to note that in the interest of overall sodium intake and the worry of the safety of canned tomatoes (google it) i will say we use beans cooked from dried when we have them left over and tomatoes packaged in glass jars or a tetra pak box. they work just as well and i just adjust for the stewed tomatoes (not easy to find unless canned) by adding in a pinch of sugar. the salt in the recipe factors in the sodium content of the canned products so if you use fresh cooked beans and don't add the can of stewed tomatoes you might want to add in just a bit more salt at the end of cooking to adjust for the substitutions. taste and see.

*i'm finding it harder to find TVP much any more. when we can't find it we buy a bag of frozen 'ground' Quorn at whole foods. just add it in frozen when you're supposed to add in the TVP and ELIMINATE THE CUP OF WATER then continue the recipe as written.



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