Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chili....the variations are endless

Chili is one of my favourite dishes to prepare - it takes very little time, is nourishing, and there is always enough left-over for lunches or another dinner.
As the title says, they are numerous recipes for chili, but here is how I put together a big pot. Each chili tastes slightly different as I do not measure and the ingredients vary from one week to another. I would recommend this method to awaken your culinary soul!

Ingredients (usually!):
2 (19 oz) cans of beans (red kidney, chickpea, black-eyed, etc.), vegetarian ground round (optional), 1 can corn, 1/2 large green or red pepper diced, 1 onion diced, 2 stalks celery diced, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chill powder, pinch dried hot chili, 1 can tomato soup + 1 cup water, 1 can (or less depending on your taste) tomato paste, Tabasco or similar - a few drops to taste, salt & pepper taste. <<
As mentioned, feel free to add whatever you have on board in your kitchen in the vegetable department. Keep in mind that you want some resiliency in your vegetables, meaning, not to mushy when cooked.>>

Assembly: in large pan, heat up 1 tablespoon oil. Brown onion, garlic, celery and spices. Add pepper. Drain your beans and add to pot. Add soup, water and tomato paste. Mix well. Add your "ground round" if using and corn. Temperature should be in the med-high range, but once you notice mixture bubbling, you can cover the pot and turn down to a simmer for approximately 20-30 minutes.

Most important tip - keep tasting & smelling & looking at the chili. Is it hot enough (meaning spicy)? What does it smell like? Is the consistency what I want? I like a thick soupy consistency.

When I was learning to cook as a teenager (at school and home), following a recipe was stressed (and results were assumed if you followed your recipe correctly). Generally, this has not failed me, however, I am always inspired by cooks who use their senses to cook (my husband is great at this). This is what I would like to encourage in my own hands on cooking.

Best of luck with YOUR version of chili!

(Serve with rice or crusty bread or corn bread. My husband tops it with shredded cheese, and I sprinkled some nutritional yeast on my bowl. Nutritional yeast was suggested to me just yesterday as an alternative to cheese (such as Parmesan) - I was quite impressed. It did taste cheesy much to my surprise.)

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Anonymous said...

Your right, chili is wonderful and there are so many great ways to prepare it.

I received what looks like a good veggie chili pie recipe. The crust is brown rice, bound with an egg. Any suggestions on how to bind it without the egg? Thanks.

Compassionate Consumption said...

How to bind without an egg....hmmmm. Googled this and found the following suggestions - to replace an egg for binding purposes, 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp warm water OR 1/4 cup crumbled soft tofu OR 3 tbsp pureed fruit.

To replace eggs for leavening purposes, the suggestions are - 1 heaping tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 tbsp warm water OR 1 heaping tbsp baking powder + 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp warm water OR 1 heaping tbsp baking powder + 1 tbsp apple cide vinegar + 1 tbsp warm water.

(Warm water must be magical, as it is used in all 3 of the leavening options).

Thanks for asking!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this chili recipe! It looks easy to make and delicious. If you want to try really great vegetarian chili at an eatery, I would recommend McMaster's Bridges Cafe.. one of their most popular dishes is the chili on flat bread - it's absolutely mouth-watering and really fills you up.

I will have to try your chili recipe, though. I've never made chili before but now I have a recipe that's easy enough for me to try. Again, thanks a lot for posting this!

Compassionate Consumption said...

You are most welcome. (I did forget to mention that in place of the tomato soup that I use, stewed tomatoes are often used. The resulting consistency and texture will be slightly different.)

Bridges Cafe @ McMaster.....I have yet to visit this place, yet I've known about it for some time. I would love to get in there before the end of the school year, as I seem to remember they only operate during the Sept-May semester system.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm not too sure if they're open during the summer (although some students are taking summer courses), since I'm not sure if the demand for their food would be high enough with most students gone. Today is technically the last official day of school for university students at McMaster, but I'm sure they will be open up till the end of exam period - maybe even later.
If you do end up checking it out, let us know what you think!
Some good choices there are:
the chilli on flat-bread, as mentioned before, and also the Best of Bridges deal, which lets you sample many of their tasty fare. There's a lot of other stuff, too - including pasta, where they stir-fry the sauce you want, the veggies, and any faux meat that you might want to include (very filling)!

Compassionate Consumption said...

Thanks for that detailed recommendation (Bridges)! You know...if I was, oh let's say about 20 years younger, I would like to apprentice in such a kitchen just to learn techniques, recipes, etc. I am so impressed by these young chefs who create amazing vegan dishes. That is really something special (any person can cook, but take away the dairy, the eggs, the flesh now that creates a challenge). You can be assured that I will make mention in the blog if and when I get down there for a lunch.
Kind regards,