Don’t you love cheap and hearty dishes that pretty much cook themselves while you scour the internet for the perfect vintage forest green sweater vest with pockets? Oh, am I the only one that stayed inside doing that on a beautiful sunny day?
Anyway, I love chili for its versatility, cheap ingredients and high fibre content. In my first year of college, I had my chili-making skills down pat. Problem is, I pretty much lived on the stuff and it has taken me about five years to stomach the stuff again. Which is really a shame.
I know, I know, everyone has a go-to chili recipe and the world really does not need another! But this chili is different than my regular standby. I was craving enchiladas with mole sauce but my fridge is shockingly void of corn tortillas. Weird, because I always have a huge bag of them on the go. For this chili, I simply used the same mole-ish spices and threw in the vegetables I had on hand, as well as some pantry staples. As an afterthought, I put in a Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. Optional, but highly recommended if you are not avoiding soy. This stuff is worth crossing the border for! It is flipping fantastic in tacos and, as the friendly Trader Joe’s cashier advised, in vegan chili.
This recipe is very flexible. Feel free to use different beans and vegetables. I often add corn and celery, among other things, but I did not have any on hand today. I am pleased with this chili, though, despite its lack of green things. Please don’t be alarmed by the long ingredients list! A lot of it is just spices that take a second to throw in.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
3 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup water
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow (or green) zucchini, diced
2 carrots, diced
15 mushrooms, chopped small for mushroom haters
6-8 smallish garlic cloves, minced
19 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
19 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
25 oz. bottle strained tomato sauce (normally I would use a can of Hunt’s, but did not have any)
Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo (optional but fantastic)
chopped cilantro for garnish
Daiya Pepperjack for garnish, optional
Heat olive oil on medium low heat. Add onion and fry, stirring, for 10 minutes.
Add mole spices (from salt to cocoa powder in the ingredients list). Cook, stirring for a few seconds, then add water to prevent burning. Stir and cook a few minutes until saucy.
Add red pepper, zucchini, carrots and mushrooms (and any other veggies you want to use), letting cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and ground Soy Chorizo. Lower heat, cover and simmer until the carrots are softened, 30 to 45 minutes.
Taste for salt and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve by itself or over brown rice. This would be good topped with Daiya Pepperjack and soy sour cream too.
Serves lots. Makes a large pot of chili, perfect for sharing or freezing.