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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

As promised, here is a lovely recipe that can be made totally meatless.  I make mine with ground turkey, but you can sub it out for meat substitutes or just skip the meat all together and add more beans to beef it up (no pun intended!)

Olive Oil
1 Large Spanish Onion, diced
1 Green pepper, diced
4 - 6 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced
2 cans chopped green chiles, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Bay Leaves
2 Cans Chili Tomatoes
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes
2 Cans Black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Cans Chili-ready (spicy) kidney beans
1 large can tomato juice
Salt, Chili Powder, Red Pepper flakes and/or Cayenne pepper to taste

In a large soup or stock pot saute onion, green pepper and garlic until onions are soft (watch your heat, don't burn your garlic or you'll be chopping all that onion again).  If you intend to add meat/meat substitute, do so now. Add Chiles and Cumin, cook through. (If using meat, make sure its cooked through before moving on)  At this point you will have a kind of yucky yellowish/green goo if you're not using meat.  It will look gross.  I promise yummy things shall come out of it.  Add both cans of Tomatoes.  I do not drain my tomatoes, but you can if you feel committed to it, I like the juices off the chili tomatoes though.  Add beans and stir thoroughly. Pour in tomato juice and stir.  Add bay leaves, and any spices you want at this time.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes.  Serve hot or allow to cool and freeze in one batch or smaller containers.

Variations:  You can substitute fresh peppers for the green chiles.  This will be a matter of personal preference and what is available in your area/that season as well.  I would probably use 1-2 Serranos or several Anahiem peppers if I were able to come by them at that time.  1-3 Jalepenos would also be a pretty safe bet.  However, feel free to experiment, just keep a glass of milk nearby!

Beans are the bulk of this meal, and you can use any kind you like.  I've done this recipe with Garbanzo beans, corn, navy beans, kidney beans and black beans in any and all combinations.

Also, watch your tomato juice!  That stuff is LOADED with sodium, so this recipe shouldn't need much salt.  Low sodium V8 works well and packs a little extra in the vitamin department.

There you have it, tell me:  how spicy do you like your chili?

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