Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

Yesterday, in an attempt to start using all the supplies in the house (once again we are soon headed into the bush and putting everything in storage), I whipped up some vegetarian chili with the required (according to Brent!) side of cornbread. I had leftover black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans in the freezer and chili is just one of those meals that you can throw anything in. So, like always, I have no specific recipe to share but have estimated the amounts I used. One day, I really should just measure as I go. I've also made this via the ol' slow cooker. Simply jam everything in and turn it on. Bam, chili!

1 can crushed tomato
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1/2 c. green and red pepper, diced
1/2 c. mushrooms, diced
1/2 sweet potato, cubed small
1/2 c. corn (roasted is clearly best but canned is fine)
1/4-1/2 c. each of chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans
1 t. lime juice
1-2 T. chipotle puree*
1-2 t. paprika
1-2 T. chili powder
2 t. brown sugar
salt, pepper
olive oil
garnish: sour cream, avocado, old cheddar cheese, cilantro
optional sides: cornbread,  brown rice, or tortilla chips

To get started, start sauteing the onions in a bit of olive oil until soft. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and vegetables. Sauté until the sweet potato is party cooked (don't cook it all the way or it will later turn to mush). Add the crushed tomatoes, lime, spices and brown sugar. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the flavours have developed, adding in the beans and corn in the last 10 minutes. Now taste and adjust spices accordingly. In fact, I generally add spice gradually when I cook chili until it has just the right amount of flavour and spice. So, while I have included approximate measurements for the spices, feel free to use more or less depending on your tastes. (To help: chipotle adds a smokey heat, chili powder adds that typical chili flavour with some heat, cayenne will just add heat, brown sugar, like always, cuts the acidity of the tomatoes, and both cumin and coriander pair well with chili but I was all out.) Also, we like our chili thick and hearty but fell free to use water or stock to thin yours out. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese (the older, the better I say!), sour cream, slices of avocado, and some fresh cilantro.

*The chipotle puree is a concept I adopted from rebar: Modern Food Cookbook. Based on vegetarian and vegan fare served out of a cafe by the same name in Victoria BC, the recipes are creative, healthful, and incorporate many different ethnic flavours. It was a staple in our kitchen trailer last season and I just had to buy it. The chipotle puree is made from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce that is pureed til smooth. Simple. It keeps quite a while in the fridge and you'll be surprised what chipotle isn't amazing in!!!  The cornbread recipe I used was also from rebar but because it wasn't the best I've made, I haven't included the recipe. It was healthier than the standard cornbread with half whole wheat flour but was not as moist as we would like. Don't let that deter you from buying rebar...we're just picky about our cornbread! From someone who has had tons of cookbooks throughout the years, this one's a keeper.

This recipe will feed about 4 and is even better the day after. In terms of nutrition, this chili is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein yet low in fat.