Monday, 29 November 2010

My Vegetarian Chili

It's Meatless Monday again and today I want to share my chili recipe. It is full of nutrition and flavour and everyone I serve it to seems to love it.

My family are not huge bean lovers, but they do love vegetables, so when developing my own vegetarian chili I decided to focus on the bit they liked the best. The vegetables I have used are a bit unconventional when it comes to chili, but this recipe does have a nice kick to it. Having said that, my family are fairly conservative when it comes to spices, so if you want to add more chili powder, or even some fresh chilis, please feel free.

Chili is traditionally served with white rice in England, and I also like to serve this with brown, basmati or wild rice. However, it is also lovely with toast, or even tortilla chips if you fancy them. And I can’t help but think it would be nice with lightly spiced couscous too, or even just a basket of lovely warmed rolls.

To serve four to five people, you need:

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use mild olive oil.)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced in half moons or 3 leeks, thinly sliced, rinsed and drained
2 carrots, peeled, halved and cut in small chunks
2 parsnips, peeled, halved and cut in chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled, quartered and cut in chunks
1 zucchini, cut in half and then half moon shapes
1 red pepper, seeded and cut in chunks
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut in chunks
1 can (about 14 ounces) chopped tomatoes, preferably organic
1 can (about 14 ounces) mixed beans, preferably organic, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, peeled
¼ to ½ teaspoon chili powder
½ cup good red wine
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat to oven to 375 (160 to 170).

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large casserole with a lid - one that goes from the stove top to the oven safely. Add the onions or leeks and stir fry for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the carrots, and stir fry for a few minutes longer so that they begin to soften a little too.

Add the parsnips, sweet potato, zucchini and peppers. Stir fry for a couple of minutes. Stir in the canned tomatoes and the beans. Grate in the garlic and add the chili powder. Add the red wine and mix in well.

Cook on the stove top for a few minutes, bringing the mixture almost to the boil. Then cover and transfer to the oven.  Cook for 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables have softened but still keep their shape. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve and enjoy.

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