When the temperature drops to 15 degrees, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with my dog Izzy (aka The Wiggle Worm) and eat a big bowl of chili. There may be some reality tv involved…
But, if you have a delicate constitution (i.e. a pungent butt trumpet) then you may want to try soaking and cooking dried beans rather than poppin’ them out of the can. Food.com has some good info on that. Also, adding a piece of dry kombu (sea vegetable) while soaking and cooking your beans will help to increase their digestibility. Just sayin’….
*Note: Hobo Stephen is my husband.
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, pureed in a food processor with their juices
1 large heirloom tomato, diced
1 can of tomato paste (6 oz)
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced garlic
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp rubbed sage
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 oz can of green chilies
1/4 cup safflower or canola oil
3 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 cups homemade vegetable stock (Add 2 cups for a thicker chili, closer to 3 cups to thin it out a bit)
1/4 cup tamari (optional)
One thing that I’ve learned that has really helped me with cooking, is to prepare your mise en place. Its a fancy French culinary term that literally means “putting in place.” Basically, this refers to organizing and arranging your ingredients before you even start cooking. That means chopping, juicing, measuring, etc. Trust me, it makes things a whole lot easier. It sounds simple enough and may well be common sense for most people, but it took me a while to realize that this would be a good thing to do.
So, step one: Set up your mise en place
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, carrots and garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browning. Stir in the green chiles and spices. Cook for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, then the puréed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir to combine. Finally, add in the beans. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and allow the chile to cook for about 40 minutes. Do a little taste test: the carrots should be soft but still have a bit of crunch to them. You can also stir in a bit of tamari, which adds a nice earthy flavor. I wouldn’t add more than 1/4 cup at the most.
Garnish with Cilantro-Lime Macadamia Cream (recipe forthcoming) or Tofu Sour Cream (see below), lime wedges and some chopped fresh cilantro. You can also add some iceberg lettuce (as per my friend Susanna) and it adds a nice little crunch.
Tofu Sour Cream Ingredients:
2 tbsp agar agar powder
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 pound firm tofu
1/2 cup safflower oil
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Dissolve the agar in a bowl with the lemon and lime juices. Blanch the tofu for 5 minutes, drain and allow to cool completely. Blanching is simply putting said ingredient into a pot of boiling water for a short amount of time. Place the tofu in a blender and add all of the other ingredients. Blend until smooth. You may need to stop the blender several times and stir before blending again, but trust me, the texture is much better (smoother) using a blender as opposed to a food processor.