Chili is something I usually make with beef, though recently I made a batch with chicken for a cook-off. But I wanted to see if I could make a good -- no, a really good -- vegetarian version, one I would actually want to make again.
This was rather a daunting task, I have to admit; vegetarian chili doesn't have a particularly stellar reputation. Lots of beans, some lentils ... these are the standard ingredients. But I wanted something to replicate the heartiness of the meat ... hmmmm. Good thing I live very close to Trader Joe's, which not only has the infamous Two-Buck Chuck wine, but also a two-buck soy chorizo, too!
Now since this was an experiment, I was only hoping to find the pseudo-soy stuff to be edible; anything more would have vastly exceeded my expectations. And yet, it looked meat-like! It smelled good! It had some, if not quite enough, zing! I cooked it up, and then proceeded to add the rest of my ingredients.
And ya know what??? It was a great chili! I've gotta say, it really was. Jeremy -- my consummate carnivore -- actually liked it and asked for more ... wow. I've eaten it straight, with sour cream, used it as a dip for corn chips, plopped some guacamole on top ... no matter what, it's good. I'm quite pleased with myself!
So my hope -- not a promise, but I'll at least make a good effort at it -- is that this chili is the first in a series of vegetarian posts for Fridays during Lent, when Catholics are forbidden to eat meat.
Because so many people resort to fish as a meat substitute, a lot of folks think that eating fish is required -- uh uh. Meat is forbidden, but you can eat anything else. And I'm here to try to liven up the menu a bit, and steer everyone clear of the ubiquitous fish sticks served with macaroni and cheese.
1 12-ounce package soy chorizo (from Trader Joe's)
4 scallions, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
generous splashes of Tabasco
1 16-ounce container fresh salsa
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups pre-soaked or canned beans
1 cup corn
1 cup vegetable stock
In a large saucepan, cook the crumbled chorizo over medium heat. Add the scallions and onion and red pepper flakes; saute until the onion is translucent.
Add the tomato sauce, Tabasco, salsa, chili powder and salt; bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat back to medium. Add the beans, corn, and vegetable stock; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
Chili, of course, is best if left for a day or so for the flavors to develop.
Serve with sour cream, cheese, corn chips, guacamole ... whatever strikes your fancy!