Sophisticated Chili

Chili is often considered a basic meat dish.  Any southerner will tell you real chili doesn’t have beans in it and is more or less just meat simmered forever in tomato sauce with lots of spices.  Now I think that just sounds boring.  Why limit yourself so much??  Vegetarian chili is meat chili’s more sophisticated, more open-minded older sister (oh gosh, and now she is referring to chili as a female?!).  For whatever reason, I decided last night that I wanted chili and cornbread.  And I am not exactly known for denying myself things that I crave.  So into my cupboards I went to see what I could rustle up.  Lucky for me, I had all the fixings for a delicious chili and cornbread dinner.  And you know what the means?  You probably do too!  That makes this a hearty, cheap, and delicious go-to weeknight dinner.  Feel free to play around with the ingredients to accommodate what you have on hand.  Another perk to the meal is that most of the time is spent with the chili simmering, so you can feel free to go do something else.  Like watch Celebrity Wife Swap.  

View from my living room while I was making this chili.
Vegan Cornbread
Adapted from Food.com
This cornbread is so moist and has a great corn presence to it.  I can’t wait to play around with this recipe by making more sweet and more savory versions!  I think next time I will add some whole corn kernels (corn makes everything better) and some spice.  Best part is that it is vegan!  And no carnivorous person would ever be the wiser :-).

Materials:
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed 
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Methods:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Bring the water to a boil in small sauce pan.
  4. Add the flax seed.
    • Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mix has thickened, about 2 minutes.
    • Set aside.
  5. Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  6. Add the flax mixture, soy milk, and canola oil to the flour mixture and mix to combine. 
    • Do not over mix!  That would lead to tough cornbread.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out of pan.
  10. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Chili
Based loosely on Allrecipes.com
Spice shot.

Materials:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped (dark green portion removed)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup picked jalapeno, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can whole corn kernels, drained

Methods:
  1. Heat the olive oil in in large pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add the leeks and cumin, oregano, and salt.
  3. Saute until the leeks begin to melt.
  4. Add the red bell pepper, jalapenos, and garlic.
  5. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes, chili, and pepper.
  7. Stir in the black beans.
  8. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes. 
  9. Stir in the corn, and simmer for additional 5 minutes.
  10. Enjoy with some cornbread and trashy TV (at least that is how I did it)!

Tonight was vegan done easy and delicious.  Please give this a try!  No carnivorous friend will walk away from the meal unsatisfied. 
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