Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sweet Chili Veggie Chili

The other day I had this crazy desire to make chili and I wanted it to be smokey and sweet. I researched several recipes that called for chipotle peppers, which they don't sell down here in Rio. So I thought I would experiment with red chilies, honey and Tabasco sauce and voila! Sweet chili chili. Makes 4-6 servings. 

Black beans
1 1/2 cups of dried black beans
3 large garlic gloves roughly chopped
1 red chili roughly chopped
1/4 white onion roughly chopped
sea salt

Most recipes use canned beans, but I decided to cook dry black beans I already had. This yields more beans than needed for this recipe, but I took this opportunity to create more meals for the week. I also didn't want to discard the black bean juice, which is good for making black bean soup or pureed beans Salvadorian style.

Prepare your beans in advance, you want them cooled down when preparing the chili. Soak the beans for at least 12 hours, then discard the old water and put the beans in your chili pot and cover with fresh new water. Completely submerge the beans and add an additional inch of water on top. Throw in the garlic, chili, onion, and a generous amount of sea salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Once the beans are cooked and have cooled down, remove 1 1/2 cups of strained beans for the chili. Store the remaining beans and soup for another day. 

Sweet Chili Chili
1 carrot chopped into small chunks
1 small red pepper chopped into chunks
1/2 white onion chopped into chunks
2 red chilies minced
1 1/2 cup dried soy mince (or frozen soy or quorn mince)
1 tbsp dried cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 1/2 cup of cooked black beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons of honey
3 tablespoons of Smoked Tabasco
olive oil
sea salt & pepper

Using the same chili pot, start sautéeing the onions, chilies, red pepper, and carrots in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Once the vegetables start to soften, add the cumin and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Allow it to cook for a few minutes, then add in your vegetarian mince, mix well and season with salt. Since I used a dry vegetarian mince I also added 1/2 cup of water. However, this is not necessary with frozen precooked veggie mince. Once your mince starts browning a little, add in the canned tomatoes, one can of water and smoked Tabasco. Add in the beans, cover and leave to simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

While your chili is reducing, use this time to prepare whatever accompaniment you like. I decided to serve my chili with brown rice, but lots of other grains would pair well. I love the hearty texture of pearled barley and you could go with something lighter like quinoa. If you want to really lighten the load, serve it with a nice crunchy salad.

Once the chili has reduced to a nice chunky state, add in the honey, taste and season with salt if needed. I'm starting to be more mindful of my sugar intake at meals, so I served myself just under 1/2 cup of brown rice with my chili. The recommended serving for rice for diabetics is 1/3 cup, not much I know. Then I ladled my chili on top and dinner was served.  

I wasn't sure about posting this recipe, because there are tons of vegetarian chili recipes out there, but Hub loved this dish so much he encouraged me to share. It was a great hearty Sunday meal and a nice balance between sweet and spicy.

I've always loved black beans, but I rarely cooked them in London or New York. Now I'm really starting to get into them and experimenting like with my smoky vegetarian feijoada or spicy black bean burgers. Black beans are so great for diabetics because one cup of black beans has 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. Protein, fiber and fat help slow down the digestion of carbs, which makes black beans a super food. 
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