Most Excellent Bean Chili (Vegetarian)

Most Excellent Bean Chili (Vegetarian)

I didn’t come up with this recipe. It in fact belongs to a former co-worker of mine. However, it has been my go-to chili recipe for the past 10 years! At least 10 years! On my first day at my old job they had a chili cook-off. Even though it was my first day of work, and very overwhelming, my most vivid memory of this day is walking into the conference room and the smell of chili taking over.  By then, I’d been vegetarian for several months but occasionally the craving for meat would come back, so I remember thinking “Crap, I’m so hungry, I’m sure each chili that’s being cooked has meat in it!” and then I asked the first table I saw and it turned out they had a vegetarian chili! The only one there! I tried it, and from then on my goal was the befriend the lady who had the recipe so I could get that recipe! My efforts paid off and I’m serving it to you! Give it a try! You won’t regret it!

And if you want to make it non-vegetarian, be sure to add 2 ½ lbs ground lean beef chuck and 1 lb ground lean pork:

1 large Vidalia onion, finely chopped (approx 1 cup)

4 generous-sized cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 cans variety of beans for chili

1 (12 oz) can Budweiser beer

1 (8-oz) can Hunts tomato sauce

1 cup water

3 tablespoons quality chili powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons beef or chicken bouillon (or approx 6 cubes)

2 teaspoons oregano leaves, ground

2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa (I use Mexican chocolate)

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce (I use more)

1 teaspoon flour

1 teaspoon cornmeal (I use Masa Harina)

1 tablespoon warm water

Additional/Optional: Taste chili after cooking and adjust seasonings with the

following…Salt, pepper, Louisiana hot sauce, Cayenne pepper, Paprika.

Directions:

1. Brown the onion and garlic over medium heat; cook and stir until tender.

2. Add all of the beans and remaining ingredients except flour, cornmeal and warm water. Mix well.

3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer covered for 2 hours.

4. Stir together flour and cornmeal; add warm water. Mix well.

5. Stir into chili mixture. Cook covered an additional 30 minutes.

6. Serve hot.

Coconut Lentil Soup

Now before I tell you about this soup, let me tell you about my daughter.  She is a typical youngest child, in that parents typically get themselves spayed or neutered after having a child like this.  Ha-ha!  She’s actually adorable!  But she’s the pickiest eater ever!  Pickier than even D.W. (Arthur’s sister from the Picky Eater story) (and if you don’t know who that is – lucky you! :)

The healthier the meal, the least likely it is that my daughter would eat it.  Except one thing!  She loves her mama’s coconut lentil soup.  Seriously, she gobbles it like it’s ice cream or eggos with maple syrup (the breakfast she has been eating every day for 2 months in a row).  So yeah, despite her being the pickiest eater in our family (or maybe even the world?!), she LOVES this lentil soup.  And that means a lot!  

For best results, note that the soup improves with time, so make sure you make it the day before.  

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

1/2 large sweet onion (I used Vidalia) finely chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 ½ tsp. turmeric

2 large garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp. ground cardamom

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

A pinch of nutmeg

5 cups vegetable broth, preferably home-made (feel free to substitute with chicken stock if non-vegetarian)

1 ½ cups French green lentils, picked over for stones and other debris

1 cups coconut milk

salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a Creuset or medium-to-large pot, warm 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and saute the onion until it is translucent. Add the thyme, and turmeric. Then, cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned and very soft.  

Reduce the heat to low.  Add the garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper, and warm them for a minute or two.

Add the vegetable stock and the lentils, and then simmer until the lentils are soft and tender (this process takes at least 30 min, though it usually takes me about an hour).

Add the coconut milk, and stir well.  Continue to simmer an additional 20-30 minutes so the flavors can blend.

Taste, and adjust the salt if necessary. Serve warm, preferably the next day as this dish definitely improves with time.

Makes: 4-6 servings

Beans, beans, the magical fruit! The more you eat, the…

HEALTHIER YOU GET!

 

Ha, ha!  Did you actually think I was going to say something else!?!

 

As everybody that knows me knows I’ve been vegetarian for quite some time now, and to those that don’t know me I want to say that I’d not have survived without my beans!  

 

I love, love, love beans!  I love black beans especially in Black Bean Soup, and Northern beans with which my grandma would make a traditional Bulgarian “bob chorba”, and refried beans that go with my shrimp and vegetable fajitas, and the lima beans from the Whole Foods salad bar.  And let’s not forget about the green beans in the green beans casserole dish that complete a perfect Thanksgiving day meal, and black eyed peas that bring luck in the up and coming New Year.  And of course lentils for soup, and chickpeas for falafel, and kidney beans for chili!  In short, I am never bored with beans.

 

Are beans a regular part of your diet? If you’re interested in improving your health and well being, they should be!  It’s no wonder that beans have been a staple in people’s diet from across the world for generations!  Studies have shown that increase in bean intake has lead to lowering of men’s cholesterol by almost 20% and reduction of the risk of heart attack by almost 40%.  Good stuff!!!

 

So eat more beans, people!!!  And for suggestions and my favorite recipes, keep reading this page :)

Paula Dean’s Lean Confederate Bean Soup

By far one of my husband’s favorite bean recipes. And no, the soup is not racist because it says “confederate” lol… My understanding is this soup was common amount confederate soldiers who had access beans in a ready supply.  And if you’re vegetarian, by all means, omit adding the bacon and sausage :)  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Bacon – Few Slices

1 Garlic Clove – Mince

1 Small Onion – Mince

1 Green Pepper – Chopped

2 Cans of Bushes Baked beans (16oz)

2 Tablespoons Butter

1/2 Lb smoked Sausage

1 Cup Half & Half

 

Directions:

Melt the butter, fry the bacon (in butter… YUM). Fry till it gets crispy, but not too much

Add garlic, pepper, and onions. Cook until soft.

Stir in Beans and Sausage and simmer 15 mins

Stir in 1/2 and 1/2 simmer for 10 more.

 

And viola, you have confederate bean soup!