With the onset of fall, the call of the stockpot is strong. What could be simpler than Veggie Chili? The colors are awesome, the texture is winning, and yes, I hope you’re humming “Karma Chameleon” right now. If not, here’s the video as you prep ingredients.
Due to one rogue onion going bad, I was able to incorporate sports into my cooking routine, hurling the offending root vegetable 60 feet into (or at least inches from) my compost pile. Though not strictly part of the recipe, it is highly recommended. Special shout-out to The Practical Cook’s Parents, for affording me the opportunity to cook in peace, find my center, and remember that feeding family is truly one of life’s great pleasures.
Veggie Chili Recipe (Red Gold and Green)
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, this is vegetarian, flexible, and a winner, even for the carnivores. Great with cornbread or cheesey bread on the side. (Recipe suggestion for that coming soon.)
1/2 cup bulghur
1/2 cup hot water
3 cups or more undrained fresh, stewed, diced, etc. tomatoes (28-ounce can or a couple of smaller cans, or 4 or 5 fresh tomatoes)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped onion (red, sweet, yellow, white, whatever)
3 garlic cloves (or more), minced or pressed
1 very generous teaspoon ground cumin
1 extremely generous teaspoon chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon Tabasco + dash of cayenne pepper (I don’t usually specify, but I strongly recommend a combo here, the balance of different heats is really nice)
2 or 3 bell peppers, red, green, yellow in any combo, diced medium
2 or 3 cups frozen cut corn (use the cheap horsey stuff here, the lightweight shoepeg won’t stand up texturewise)
1 14-ounce can black beans (or 2 cups of your own), rinsed
1 14-ounce can red kidney beans (light or dark, or 2 cups of your own), rinsed
1 14-ounce can pinto beans (or 2 cups of your own, or sub chickpeas if you like), rinsed
salt to taste
grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
chopped green onions
sour cream or plain yogurt (good for cooling)
hot sauce (good for heating)
1. Place the bulghur, hot water, and 1 cup of the tomato juice from the tomatoes you’re using in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat, then lower the heat and simmer gently. Watch this, it boils fast!
2. While that’s happening, heat the olive oil in a large pot (minimum of 4 quarts) over medium heat. Saute the onions, cumin, chili powder, and Tabasco/cayenne until onions are soft. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until you smell garlic. Immediately add the peppers and saute briefly, another minute or so.
3. Chop the tomatoes (if they’re not already) and add them to the pot. Stir in the corn and beans, and heat thoroughly, stirring often.
4. Meanwhile, taste the bulghur. I find it takes about as much time as it takes to get through the above steps, around 10 minutes. When it’s cooked but still chewy, add it to the pot with its liquid. Cover the pot and simmer.
5. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and hot sauce to taste. Serve as is or with optional toppings at the table.
This freezes well, serves as a great burrito filling, and is as flexible as it sounds. Key items are not burning the garlic, and seasoning it enough to penetrate that much bean-age. Vegetarians represent!
Are you a chili fan? Share your thoughts below! Comment comment comment. Or just comment. Just sayin’.
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Tomorrow, Kitchen Tool Talk: Three (More) of My Favorite Things!