Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Famous" Vegetarian Chili - With Meat Alternative

My husband loves my chili and often brags about it to his friends and coworkers, but I needed to find a way to make it suit both of our needs.

I am not consuming meat, and he couldn't imagine chili with no meat in it! So I've adapted this recipe to work for both of us.

2 tbs. oil
1 onion, minced
2 carrots, grated (don't tell my husband I put carrots in his chili!)
3 large cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
2 cans of stewed tomatoes
1 tbs. fine sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbs. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbs. chili powder
1 tbs. curry powder
1 tbs. dark cocoa powder
6 cups liquid (vegetable broth, water, sherry, animal broth, etc.)
1 lbs. light red kidney beans

1 lbs. lean meat (optional)

In a large pot, heat up the oil. Saute the onion and carrot until caramelized. This sweetens the onion and gives it a richer flavor. Add in the minced garlic and lightly cook. Add in the stewed tomatoes, breaking them up with a spatula, until they are small pieces. Mix in the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, chili powder, curry powder and cocoa powder. Finally, add in the liquid and the *dry, rinsed* kidney beans. Taste your broth and adjust the seasoning if needed.
On high heat, bring the contents to a rolling boil and cook for 10 minutes. (You could choose to soak your beans over night and skip this step).
Turn your heat to a low simmer and place a lid tightly onto the pan. Let your beans cook and soak up the juice, for several hours. You want to check on them every half an hour or so, giving them a good stir and keeping an eye on the liquid level. If it looks like it might be getting dry, add a little water.
Once the beans are soft and cooked fully, your chili is done and ready to serve.

If you want to add in meat, you can do so at this point. Lean ground beef or pork, stew meat, even ground turkey or sausage would work. Just make sure the fat is low or you'll have greasy chili. Once you add the meat, let it cook through and continue letting the chili cook for another half hour.

Top with topping, eat with crackers, tortilla chips or bread, and enjoy!

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