One recipe I’ve attempted to tweak is vegetarian chili. I’ve tried lots of different recipes and none seemed to have a richness and depth of flavor of its meat based counterpart.
One thing I love about cooking is experimenting with ingredients until I come up with a dish I like so much that I make it over and over again. I think I finally found a solution, and best of all most of the ingredients were on hand in the pantry and hence the name.
Key ingredients in this one include chili beans in tomato sauce which have chili peppers onion and garlic added to them.
Second thing is dried mushrooms. Many of you know I like to dehydrate fruits and vegetables. When mushrooms are on sale I buy an extra package just for drying. They add a wonderful taste and a meat like chewiness to this dish. If you don’t have any on hand I have seen them in the produce department. While they can be costly you don’t need that many for this recipe.
Third thing is the slow cooking of the carrots and onions and then more slow cooking when the spices are added.
Final vital thing, add more stock than you need for the finished dish and let it reduce down so it imparts as much flavor into the vegetables as it can.
It all sounds like it’s lots of work but it’s not and I think once you taste it you’ll be glad you took some extra steps-
1 15 ounce can S and W Chili beans in tomato sauce
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
1/4 cup dried mushrooms
1/2 tablespoon of chili powder (this makes it fairly spicy so cut down on the amount if you’re not like so much heat)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
good pinch of salt
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon dried chili peppers (leave out if you don’t have them or like less heat)
2 tablespoons oil
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook it, stirring often until it’s slightly softened. Add the carrots and continue cooking for about five minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Slowly add the chili powder, dried chili pepper, mushrooms, oregano and cumin and make sure everything is coated well. Cook all these ingredients for about another three minutes, stirring all the time.
Add a pinch of salt and cook another minutes.
Slowly add the beans and then the tomatoes and stir together.
Add the vegetable stock and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium low, uncovered and cook until most of the stock has reduced down which takes about 15 minutes.
Serve immediately with brown rice, sour cream, shredded cheese and diced avocado if you like.