Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hearty Chili

Even though it's a balmy 52 degrees outside, it's always nice to get cozy with a big bowl of warm chili.  I've made this Hearty Chili recipe a few times before and it never disappoints.  It's chock full of veggies, beans, and the secret ingredient: "soy crumbles."

Hearty Chili topped with crushed tortilla chips

Recipe:
Hearty Chili
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 - 4 ounce cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
  • 2 - 12 ounce packages vegan burger crumbles (I use Lightlife Smart Ground veggie protein crumbles)
  • 3 - 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 - 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces frozen corn
First, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt.  Stir and cook the mixture until the onion becomes tender.  Next, mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chiles.  Once the vegetables are heated through--after about 5 minutes--mix in the soy burger crumbles.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Then mix in the crushed tomatoes, chili powder, pepper, kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans.  Bring the chili to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 50 minutes (at least), stirring in the corn when five minutes remain.  Serve hot.  I used crushed tortilla chips as a garnish.  

Yields 8 servings.

Comments:

Taste:
I could eat this chili every week.  Even though it's not very spicy, it's still packed with flavor.  The mixture of veggies, beans, and crumbles is also really filling.  Simon thinks the chili is "delightful," while Rachel likes that it's "really hearty."
Accessibility:  
Most of the ingredients in this recipe are both easy to find and affordable.  While my standard grocery store had the soy crumbles in stock, however, some grocery stores may not carry them.  Luckily, the chili would still be great without the crumbles. 
Ease of Preparation: 
The recipe is very easy to make.  Mixing ingredients into a pot isn't too taxing.  The recipe does take a while to make, though, between the chopping and simmering.  It's worth it, though! 
Non-vegan friendliness: 
Simon and Rachel loved the chili, and I'm confident that anyone else would feel the same way.  A dish like chili is extra vegan-friendly, though, because it's so customizable.  Your non-vegan friends and family members can add traditional chili toppings like cheese or sour cream if they so desire, while I topped mine with crushed up tortilla chips to add a little crunch.

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