Friday, February 3, 2012

Veggie Chili

There's something about the cold, gray winter months that just says cozy blankets, good books, fireplaces, wine, and a good warm pot of chili.  I have a lot of love for a good, hearty vegetarian chili.  It's easy. It can cook in the crockpot all day, and become a hassle free dinner.  It has just enough spice in it to warm up the body on a cold snowy or rainy day.  It's also an easy meal for entertaining.  A big pot of chili can feed a lot of mouths.  Add a salad and some cornbread muffins and viola', an easy go to party meal.  Not to mention, that there just so happens to be a rather big football game happening this weekend, and chili seems to be a standard dish at all the big game parties.  Perhaps this will give you an idea for a vegetarian version to try out.  Happy February to you all!

Veggie Chili

2 quarts of diced tomatoes (64 ounces)
2 cans dark red kidney beans
1 1/2 cups aduki beans (or other beans of choice)
1 small onion, diced
3-4 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cups shittake mushrooms
1-2 TBS  Chipotle Chili in Adobe sauce
1-2 TBS chilli powder
1-2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika (or smoked paprika)

1) Saute carrots and onions until onions become translucent.  Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

2) Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes.  If time is an issue, simmer until dinner is needed.  I only prefer simmering the chili a little longer because I think it really makes the flavors pop.

A few side notes:

***Adjust spices to taste.  The amounts listed about where an approximate guess of what I added.  I am a taste testing kind of cook.   Adjust them to what will suit your family.  
***Chipotle Chili in Adobe Sauce can be found in the ethnic section of your grocery store.  I find it among the other Mexican ingredients. It gives a smoky taste but can also get a bit spicy if to much is added.

***I recently found dried shittake mushrooms at Costco.  My girls loved shittakes more than regular mushrooms and the deal at Costco was great.  I also loved the "chewy" texture the shittake mushrooms give, which may be why folks who normally love meat chili don't seem to miss it with this version.  

***Top the chili with some sliced avocado or mix in a vegan cheese.  

***Add some cornbread muffins. The link attached to the muffins is my absolute favorite cornbread muffin of all time.  They are always a hit and I usually make them gluten free.  I don't think you'll be sorry if you try these!

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