Mmm... There is nothing like leftover chili for lunch on a crisp cold day.
This past Friday we had a beautifully long rainy day and night. It was cold...and wet, and I was so happy to know that everything was being washed down, and soaked by tons of rain. I of course, could not find the umbrella, and didn't have a rain coat, but that didn't even bother me. I kept finding myself saying giddily.."its not everyday that I can get really wet from a rainy day!" By dinner time it seemed obvious to me that the only thing to make was a nice warm pot of vegetarian chili. How satisfying that was, cutting up the vegetables, sauteeing the onions, and garlic, adding the spices, and the slow simmering of the chili. I think my favorite part of the whole process is cutting up the green onions and fresh cilantro that we used for toppings...right before it is time to dish out the chili. Or maybe it is opening up the Bottle of Vino that we will drink with our dinner...
Over the years my chili has evolved into a mixture of various recipes from my very beat up and worn out version of "The New Basic's Cookbook".They have at least 6 different chili recipes...they are all great. I bought this cookbook years and years ago, when I first starting cooking on my own...it taught me quite a bit.., and there is not one recipe that I have used that did not turn out wonderfully. I have often given this book as a gift in the past..
So here is my version of Vegetarian Chili...
The main meat ( so to speak) of the dish is beans, and peppers (sweet ones).
3 to 4 Garlic cloves minced
1 Big Sweet Onion
1 to 2 Zucchini
4 to 6 Red, Yellow, and Orange Bell Peppers chopped, (not to small though)
2 cans (big ones) of crushed tomato's
2 cans of Black Beans
2 cans of Kidney Beans
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup vegetable broth or water (sometimes I add more)
2 to 3 tablespoons of good chili powder
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 green onions or scallions chopped
4 tablespoons or so chopped fresh cilantro
Grated cheese ( we use blue, but you can use whatever you like)
Creme Fresh or Sour Cream
Heat about a half cup of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and saute just until tender. Transfer it to the pot you will be simmering the chili in. (Note, I have simmered this recipe in the crock pot all day to...yummy)
Heat about 1/4 cup more of oil in your skillet over low heat, add onions, garlic and peppers and saute just until wilted. This is when I like to put all the chili powder and the dried red pepper flakes. Transfer the mixture into the pot with the Zucchini. Place the pot on low heat and add the rest of the spices, tomato's, brown sugar, vegetable broth, salt and pepper. Cook uncovered, stirring often, for 30 minutes.
Stir in the beans, and cook for another 15 minutes, also adjust your spices. If you have fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, you can chop that up and throw it in as well.
When you serve up your chili, make sure to top with Fresh Cilantro, cheese, scallions and cream...then mix it all together and dig in. I also like to serve big blue corn chips or a fresh loaf of bread to go with...
Sometimes, I really need to have a chili that has some meat in it...so, I will use this same recipe and add about a pound of ground turkey, and about 4 long strips of cut up crispy cooked bacon. Equally yummy..