good chili can be made without meat. really!

In the last entry, I said that I hadn’t had chili for a long time. This isn’t technically true – a friend gave us a recipe for a rather nice vegetarian chili. It’s not as wonderful as the chili I had this weekend, but I really like it a lot. The cocoa in it really adds something deeper to it, which I’m finding I like. Complex flavours really do it for me these days. The cornbread is a recipe that I found many years ago and goes really well with the chili. I loved making it when I lived alone, and we made it rather often in Argentina and just kept it in the fridge as snack food. Nothing like warm cornbread with a bit of butter melting on it…

Easy Vegetarian Chili

1 tbsp olive or canola oil
2 onions, chopped
2 green and/or red peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c mushrooms, sliced
2 c cooked/canned kidney beans
2 c cooked/canned chick peas
1/2 c bulgur/couscous, rinsed (we now use rice, it thickens it nicer. Half-cook the rice first)
28 oz can tomatoes or 6 fresh tomatoes, chopped (I like to use a bit of both)
1 c salsa (make it spicy or leave it out – there’s already enough tomato in here)
1/2 c water
salt to taste
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp each pepper, oregano, and cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp sugar
1 c corn niblets (optional, but recommended)

Heat the oil and sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes more. Add the remaining ingredients except for the corn. Bring it all to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the corn, make sure everything is a uniform temperature, and serve. This is actually a vegan recipe, though if you want to, cheese is nice on top. Then it won’t be vegan any more, just delicious.

Cornbread

2 c cornmeal
1 c flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1.5 c milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter, softened (if you want richer cornbread, you can add more butter, but this is enough)
1 ear of corn, boiled and cut off cob (optional)
2 tsp flax seeds (optional)

Mix everything together, then pour in a 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle with some extra sugar and flax seeds. Bake at 425*F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The fresh corn really puts this over the top, it’s nice to bite in and have a burst of corn flavour.

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