There is one word that is uttered with an alarming consistency in my kitchen–“Oops.” Actually, that word isn’t “oops” and it’s more like two words, the first being “oh”, but I’m not sure any of your would appreciate the amount of profanity I actually use in my kitchen. I put sailors to shame.
To be honest, guys, I screw up all over the damn place, and it’s usually because I’m forgetful. Take yesterday, for instance. Thanks to my wonderful mother, who took Ollie out to eat after preschool, Mike and I got to go grocery shopping by ourselves before ten o’clock at night for the first time since before we can remember. Readers, it was glorious. We perused all the aisles, filled our cart with produce we’d actually taken the time to consider (as opposed to chucking it in the cart and hoping we need it later) and enjoying our time together. I think it might have counted as date night.
When I came down from my euphoric grocery trip and realized I had to make dinner, I was resigned to make my world famous chili. (State famous…City famous…My friends all really like it…) I got out a few cans of tomatoes from my ample supply. I located a sweet potato, peppers, corn, and a jalapeno pepper. I was out of quinoa, but I had bulgur (and rice would have been fine, too). Oh yes, I had everything I needed. Then I opened the cabinet for some kidney beans. This is what I got.
How did I go to the grocery store and forget to buy beans? What kind of vegetarian am I???
Furthermore, I was out of liquid smoke. Still. I should definitely start bringing a list when I go shopping.
So, when life hands you lemons, apparently you should try for grape juice.
The Most Adaptable Chili Recipe Ever
2 15 oz cans beans (I recommend kidney or black beans, but apparently, even chick peas work)
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (seeded if you want it less spicy)
1/2 a sweet potato, diced (save that sweet potato! We’ll make something yummy with that later, for sure!)
1 cup corn
1 cup quinoa or other grain (bulgur and barley work great, too)
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 tsp garlic powder
3-4 tsp chilli powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tbs cocoa powder
dash or two of liquid smoke
This one is as simple as throwing everything into a pot and bringing it to a simmer (I typically add the grains last). Let it all simmer for about 30 minutes and you have a complete meal in a bowl. It’s delicious!
As it turned out, the chickpeas weren’t nearly as off putting as I thought they’d be. In fact, the texture they had was lovely! The magical thing about chili is you could literally throw everything from your cabinets in a pot and so long as you added some pepper and a tomato base, you could still call it chili.
Try and tell me that’s not a manly looking bowl of vegan chilli! It’s hearty and wonderful, full of nutrients, filling, and really everything chili ought to be. I like to sprinkle ours with some nutritional yeast (gotta have that b12), and if we have it on hand sometimes I’ll top it with a pinch of vegan cheese.
I always, always, ALWAYS add extra heat to my bowl. Feel free to get kind of liberal with the cayenne (or hot sauce), to give your bowl that extra “kick you in the face” quality.
If your name is Mike, you’ll eat this with guac and chips and get thirds. Somehow, there will still be leftovers, but not for terribly long.
To my meat eating friends out there–give this a try. You don’t have to worry about pink slime or the quality of your ground beef (which, lets face it, unless you’re shelling out some cash is going to be kind of crappy and have those weird little hard bits in them) and you still get plenty of protein and iron. Besides, this is thicker than any of the MEAT chili I’ve tried. Give it a chance, you can always add some ground beef later.
Anyway, if you’ll excuse me it’s nearly ten, so I must be getting to the grocery store for the beans, liquid smoke, and toothpaste I forgot to pick up yesterday…
Eat up, readers. You’ll need the energy to put up with the grocery store night staff.