January 19, 2009

Black and Orange Chili

Ok, so I know there's no reason to stray from something that's already good but what about trying something new?  Chili is a wonderful cold weather companion but making an unnecessary trip to the supermarket is not.  But let's back track a bit...

My friend Diane's dad is a great cook and one dish I always loved eating at their house was his vegetarian chili.  It was warm, comforting and rich with flavor but not calories.  I wanted the recipe for a long time and finally got it through a trade: I gave him my recipe for pumpkin raisin bread (this pumpkin bread recipe with 1 cup of raisins added) and he gave me his for vegetarian chili.  

I was so excited to make it for the first time and when I did it was every bit as good as when I used to have it at Diane's.  It was my go to chili recipe for a long time and still is, but after I made it the last time and ate its leftovers for days and days, I was more sick of chili than I thought possible.  

So this time I thought I should try something new.  I had some carrots and sweet potatoes in the fridge that I needed to use up and cans of black beans and diced tomatoes in the pantry, which I had been saving for just such an occasion.  And while I can't say this chili is better than the old stand by, I think it's at least on par and a nice step in a slightly different direction.

Black and Orange Chili

1- 2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large sweet potato or 2 small, peeled and chopped
1 jalape├▒o, seeded and diced
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsps tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 14 oz can black beans, drained
1/5 block firm tofu, crumbled (optional)
2- 3 tbsps chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsps  ground cayanne
1 tbsp siracha
hot red pepper flakes

grated cheddar or monetary jack to garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  When hot add red pepper flakes, onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent but do not brown.  Add carrots, sweet potatoes, jalepeno, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and water.  Mix and bring to a boil.  Add all spices plus siracha, stir and turn heat down to a simmer.  Simmer covered for about an hour then add black beans and tofu and continue simmering for 15- 30 minutes longer until chili has thickened.  Garnish with grated cheddar or jack cheese.*

*This chili is also thick enough to use as filling inside a burrito.  I had some earlier today rolled into a whole wheat tortilla with grated cheese.

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