January 26, 2013

For the Love of Chili

Have I ever told you how much I love eating chili?

Vegetarian chili, of course.

Oh, and just one more thing. I don't like beans. I usually pick them out. Kidney beans. White beans. Black beans. Fava beans. Pinto beans. Navy beans. Mung beans...

Really, I've come to realize that I'm drawn to the  layers of flavors in chili. And quite possibly, I like the idea of it-- it can stand alone, smother fries, top a baked potatoes, or enhance a hot dog. It's truly an all-purpose food.

So the other day I decided to experiment with my version of chili. I didn't use any one recipe. Instead, I relied on what I've learned through reading cookbooks (yes, I actually do read them) and from the many countless hours of watching The Food Network. The gist of it? Replace the meat and the beans with corn, carrots, and rice. I had no idea how it would turn out.

Here's to experimenting...

Melissa's Meat-less Bean-less Chili

1. Begin by sweating some onions and garlic in EVOO (with salt and pepper).
2. Add whatever veggies you prefer (as long as they are roughly chopped the same size). I used frozen corn and fresh carrots. Saute until softened.

3. Add a little water to the pan to stop the saute. Add all spices. I added a little of the following: cumin, coriander, chili powder, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

4. Add the experimental secret ingredients: brown sugar and instant coffee.
5. Add more water, one can of chopped tomatoes, and a couple spoonfulls of tomato paste until it is as thick as you like. Simmer for five minutes until the flavors blend. Add cooked rice.

The final product!
A few notes:
  • I added the rice because I thought I would need a starch replacement for the beans. However, I quickly realized the rice was unnecessary because the corn and carrots are starch.
  • I added brown sugar because I knew I wanted it sweet and spicy, as well as dark red in color.
  • I added the instant coffee because, well, I hoped it would give an extra layer of flavor, as well as help to darken it. Instant coffee is never good to drink. But it works great to give depth in other foods!
  • My only warning is to go easy on the dried spices... especially the cumin.

It tasted great to me! And even better the next day! And Andrew loved it! Win-Win-Win.
Who needs meat. Or beans.
Do you dare?
[Just wait until you see how I put my meat-less, bean-less chili on a hotdog-less hotdog. That's coming up next.]

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