It’s certainly not the most exciting dish to make, but chili is yummy, inexpensive, nutritious, and always a hit at my house. At least once a month I make a big pot of chili, enjoying dinner one night and lunch for the week.
Now a lot of folks take their chili VERY seriously. They hand-pick chilis and roast them, they enter cook-offs, they write entire cookbooks. Me – I do it the lazy way, with nary a chili pepper in sight, other than what’s in my jar of chili powder. I learned to make chili from my mother – a solid, salt-of-the earth New Englander who would combine ground hamburger, canned tomato sauce and beans. I like to think that my recipe is just as easy, but a lot tastier and healthier.
- olive oil for cooking (optional)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped fine
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 cups white mushrooms, chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- vegan, meat-substitute crumbles (optional)
- 1 large can (28 0z) organic crushed tomatoes
- 3 15 oz cans of beans – I use 1 each of organic black, cannellini and red kidney beans (or 6 cups of prepared beans)
- chili powder to taste (I use about 2 tbsp)
- Sriracha chili sauce to taste (I use about 1 tsp)
- smoked salt to taste (I use about 1 tsp of gray, alder-smoked salt, but you can substitute table or kosher salt)
- ground black pepper to taste
Heat oil on medium heat in a large pot (I use an enamel, cast iron dutch oven) and add carrots and celery, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell pepper and onion and cook until vegetables begin to soften and onions are translucent. If using meat-substitute, add to the mixture and warm through.
If using canned beans, drain them in a colander and rinse. (BTW- the colander in this photo was hand-made by my mother’s father who passed away when she was very young. I treasure it).
Add beans to the pot and stir frequently for 10 minutes. I use a wooden spoon to avoid breaking up the beans as they cook.
Add crushed tomatoes and stir to incorporate, then stir in your chili powder, salt and pepper. Allow to cook for a few minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. Add Sriracha sauce and allow to simmer for approximately 1/2 hour.
It is my mission to figure out how to make a good, plant-based corn bread to go with this. So stay tuned for my next post!