Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meaty Chili

We've made the same chili recipe several times over the past year and a half; so, when Simon's dad passed along a new one, we were happy to give it a try.  The recipe from Cook's Illustrated was called "BEST VEGETARIAN CHILI," so it had to be good--almost as good as this.

Don't forget to garnish with cilantro, like I did!

I made a few changes to the original recipe, reflected below.

Meaty Chili
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 - 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained (but save the juice in a bowl)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 ounces canned green chiles, drained
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 pounds onions, finely diced
  • 1.25 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 4 - 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups water (plus more as needed)
  • 2/3 cup bulgur 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

First, process three separate batches of ingredients.  There's no need to clean out the food processor between each batch--it's all going in the same pot in the end! 
  • Process the walnuts for about 30 seconds or until a coarse powder forms.  Remove from food processor and set aside.  
  • Then, process the drained tomatoes, tomato paste, jalapeno, garlic, and soy sauce until the tomatoes are finely chopped, about 45 seconds.  Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  • Finally, blend the chiles, mushrooms, and oregano until finely ground.  Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside. 
Next, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until onions begin to brown.  Lower the heat to medium, add the mushroom mixture and cumin, and cook for another minute.  Then add the beans, water, bulgur, walnuts, tomato mixture, and reserved tomato juice.  Cover the pot, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes until the chili is thick and flavorful.  If you need to add more water during this time, feel free to do so.*
Once the chili is cooked, garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

Yields 6-8 servings.

This chili has a truly meaty taste--not in the sense that it tastes like meat, but rather that it has a full, deep flavor and a substantive texture.  The mushrooms, walnuts, and other ground up ingredients really come together to create a nice, thick chili base, and the beans add a bit of textural variety.  Even Simon--the carrot-rating deflator that he is--thought this recipe deserves four carrots.  If I were to improve the recipe, I'd add another jalapeno to the mix because the chili wasn't very spicy. 
There are a bunch of ingredients in this recipe, but we were able to find them all at our usual grocery store.  We had the most trouble finding bulgur, and for some reason the box of bulgur we did find had soy bits in it, too; but, it ended up working out fine. 
 Ease of Preparation:          
Thanks to our food processor, there's not a whole lot of chopping involved in this recipe.  It does take a while to cook. 
Non-vegan friendliness:         
This recipe yields a really tasty dish that would satisfy any appetite.  Plus, chili is pretty customizable: Simon and Rachel topped theirs with cheese and sour cream.    

* Note: we used too much water when we made the chili (I didn't properly account for the fact that the beans were already cooked), so I ended up bailing water out of the pot.  The recipe above reflects the amount of water that I left in the pot, but feel free to adjust as you see fit. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you liked it. America's Test Kitchen does it again.