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Vegetarian Chili

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This vegetarian chili recipe has been crowd tested and crowd approved. I’ve served it to meat eaters at a pot luck without revealing that the chili had no meat in it.  They didn’t even realize anything was “amiss” and were raving about the taste. It’s now time to reveal my secret ingredient: beer. Try to choose a flavorful pale ale. Steer away from light beers (no flavor) and thicker stouts (too much flavor).

The ingredient list does look long; however, preparation couldn’t be easier.  It’s all about combining the ingredients into the pot and letting it simmer. The reason why this particular recipe works is that the various flavors and spices are given a chance to be layered through the cooking process.

Vegetarian Chili
by Megabeth

8 oz package sliced small portobello mushrooms (or white mushrooms)
1 12 oz package vegetarian “ground beef” crumbles
1/2 onion, chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
1 1/2 t chili powder
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1 1/2 t onion power
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 packet (1.13 ounces) organic taco seasoning
2 15 oz cans organic dark kidney beans (drained)
2 15 oz cans organic light kidney beans (drained)
1 11 oz can organic canned corn (drained) (or 1 cup frozen corn)
2 10 oz cans diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 6 oz cans organic tomato paste
3/4 cup peanut halves
1/2 cup beer
shredded cheese and sour cream for garnish

– Pour a little olive oil into bottom of large pot and add garlic. Heat oil and garlic on medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are softened. (Note: If using onions, saute onions first, then add mushrooms after the onions have had a chance to soften up.)

– Add “ground beef” into pot. Stir occasionally until heated through.

– Add chili powder, onion powder, cayenne and about 1/2 of the chili seasoning while the “ground beef” is cooking.

– Add kidney beans, corn, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and peanuts.Stir to combine, then add rest of chili seasoning. (Note: I did not add peanuts to the chili in the picture below as I didn’t have any on hand…)

– Cover and turn heat to low. Allow chili to simmer on the stove for at least a 1/2 hour. The longer you let it simmer, with occasional stirring, the better. Towards end of cooking add about a 1/4 cup of beer.

– Scoop into bowls and serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.