"This is to thank you for all the special meals you make for me," said one of the talented writers in our Monday night writing group, and she handed me a brand new cookbook. She caught me off-guard—I truly enjoy hunting down vegetarian recipes that everyone in the group enjoys, and my husband enjoys them too.
The cookbook is The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley, a neat collection of recipes that can be adjusted to please all the vegetarians and meat lovers in your life. A great idea, and inspiring to read, even though I've been cooking like this for a while now. Below is my own Chili Con Carne recipe in both its original form and with suggested changes to adapt it into a vegan delight.
CHILI TWO WAYS
1 large vidalia onion, peeled
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded
1 red bell pepper, seeded
2 Tbs. chili powder
4 Tbs. ground cumin
2 lbs. lean ground beef OR 4-6 portobello mushrooms, chopped in processor
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 15-oz. cans mixed kidney beans, rinsed well and drained
(increase to 5 cans if using mushrooms instead of beef)
2 tsps. dried oregano
1 13-oz. can beef OR vegetable broth
1½ cups dry red wine
1. Heat oil in non-stick skillet. Prepare and process vegetables and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in chili powder and ground cumin. Cook for one minute and transfer to 8-qt. stock pot.
2. Brown ground beef or mushrooms in the same skillet, breaking up meat and adding 1 tsp. salt, about 5 minutes. Transfer beef/mushrooms with slotted spoon to stock pot, leaving fat behind. Stir tomato sauce, tomatoes, oregano, and beans into stock pot. Add beef/vegetable broth and wine. Simmer about 2 hours.
3. Serve with chopped scallions, tortilla strips, sour cream/tofu sour cream, and grated Monterey Jack or similar cheese/veggie cheese. Plenty for 6-8.