Friday, September 9, 2011

Chili Two Ways

"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-guardI 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.

3 Tbs. vegetable oil
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.

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