Monday, February 25, 2013

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili


 A meatless chili made with four kinds of beans, zucchini, and a mixed pepper puree.

Chili is one of those foods that I can eat for days and never get tired of it.  So, with me on my own, I decided to make a big pot of chili to eat for a week.  I didn't have any ground beef (or other meat) in the house and I didn't feel like going to the store to get any so I made this chili vegetarian.  It turned out great.  It is very healthy too, with four kinds of beans this chili has plenty of fiber, and it is low in calories yet very filling.  I like to experiment every time I make chili so I rarely make it the same way twice.  Here is what I did this time.


Pepper Puree:

2 bell peppers (red or yellow)
3-4 jalapenos
1 pound mild green chillies
1 dried habanero, reconstituted
1 tsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp chili powder
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder

Cut the bell peppers into smaller pieces, split the jalapenos in half and remove the seeds (or leave them in if you want more heat), and cut the stems off the smaller green chillies (I do not know what kind of chillies these are, the skinny long green ones in the picture, but they are mild with a very good chilli flavor, there is no need to remove the seeds).  Rinse all the peppers, toss in olive oil and spread on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper then bake at 400F for about 15-20 minutes until they start to brown and become soft.  Meanwhile, soak the habanero (I also used 2 dried jalapenos I happened to have) in boiling hot water until it becomes soft (cut the top off and remove seeds by squeezing, or leave them in for more heat).  Place the peppers in a blender, add the spices and about 1/4 cup of the water the habanero was reconstituted in and puree.  You may need to add a bit more pepper water until you reach the desired consistency.  The puree should be smooth and thick, but not so thick you can't pour it out of the blender.  Makes about 2 cups puree.

2 very large zucchinis, diced
1 large onion, diced
(about 5-6 cups total)

Saute the zucchini and onions together over medium heat until they become soft and translucent.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

6 cups beans
1/4 cup ketchup
Worcestershire sauce

Place 6 cups of mixed beans into a large slow cooker.  I used a combination of garbanzo beans, kidney beans, pigeon peas, and black beans (they can be cooked from dry or from a can, whatever you have.  I cook my beans from dry and freeze them in 1 cup portions so I always have easy beans on hand, just thaw over night in the refrigerator and use as you would canned beans.  It is easy to control the salt this way.).  Add the zucchini and onion, then pour on the pepper puree and add 1/4 cup of ketchup and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Give it a taste at the end and add more salt and pepper if needed. Makes 6-8 servings. 

This recipe is very versatile you can use any kinds of beans and any kinds of peppers.  I've made the pepper puree with all reconstituted, dried peppers before, they were some kind of large Mexican chilli and it was very good.  You can use spicier chillies or milder chillies, the combinations are endless.  If you want meat, just add some cooked ground beef or chicken to the mix.  I served my chili topped with cheese with corn chips on the side, veggies on the side would be good too.  Be creative and enjoy.

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