Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Vegan Chili

Chili has been the center of heated debate in my house for years...There are some who believe a good chili consists of only meat and tomato goodness, while others scoff at the idea of tainting their chili bowl with anything remotely bovine.

Time taken to concoct a good chili has also been the center of many culinary arguments.  Should the chili simmer all day long, only to marry its flavors after 8 hours of slow cooking? Or should the chili be easily whipped up as a hearty and filling finish to a long and arduous day?  I don't know about you, but most of my days seem to trend towards the "long and arduous" and slow cooking anything seems like an impossibility.

Enter this easy vegan and gluten-free chili that takes about a half-an-hour to prep.  It's a dump-everything-in-the-pot-and-walk-away kind of dish, as well, so you'll have time to whip up some biscuits to dunk in your chili in the meantime.

Vegan Chili
Serves 6 hungries
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 T chili powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1-2 T adobo sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium zucchini, diced
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
Crema mexicana to garnish
Corn tortillas to garnish

In a large pot heat your olive oil, onions, carrots, and garlic.  Cook until the onions become translucent.  Add your cumin, chili powder,  and cinnamon, saute until fragrant.  Add your adobo sauce, more or less depending on how spicy you like your chili.  I'd recommend going easy on the adobo, as you can always add more after you get all of your ingredients together.

Add the diced zucchini with a little salt and pepper.  Add the tomato paste and cook until the paste becomes a deep brick red.  This deepens the tomato flavor and adds a great dimension to the chili.  Add the black, pinto, and white beans to the pot along with the diced tomatoes and green chiles.  Add 2 cups of water and bring pot to boil.  Cover and reduce to a simmer.  Let the pot simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the zucchini and carrots are tender.  Season with salt and pepper and garnish with crema mexicana for a vegetarian chili or folded tortillas.

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