Friday, January 2, 2009

Annual Palo Alto Chili Cook-off

Yep, we're going for it. We're going to enter this year's Palo Alto Chili Cook-off with a vegetarian chili.

The vegetarian chili at the 2008 event was good, but there were not many options from which to choose. Veg chili was apparently popular as 2 of the 3 booths were "sold out" by the time we got there just after 1pm.

Our idea is to start with a recipe that works well and build on it from there. Here's where what we chose as a base:
Chunky Garden Vegetable Chili
from the Whole Foods Market Cookbook, page 90
Serves 6 to 8

1T olive or canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (1.5t)
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
1T dried oregano
2t ground cumin
1T chili powder
1c tomato puree
1 (28-oz) can chopped tomatoes
2 quarts cold water or vegetable stock
1 cup cracked wheat
1 (16 oz) can red or white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked black beans
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced

Heat olive or canola oil in large sauce pot over medium heat and saute the onion, carrots, celery, peppers, garlic, jalapeno, oregano, cumin and chili powder for 2 minutes to combine well.

Add the tomato puree, tomatoes, cold water, cracked wheat, red or white beans, and black beans; simmer uncovered fro 50 minutes, until blended. you may add additional vegetable stock, water, or tomato juice to adjust the consistency, if needed.

Add the lime juice, tamari, and cilantro. Serve with plain yogurt or sour cream, grated cheddar, and minced scallions.
Again, the idea is to use this recipe as a base on which to build. Some changes right out of the gate include swapping a yellow pepper for the green pepper recommended, using water instead of broth, and using widely available bulgur instead of crack wheat. We're also playing around with chipotles from Tierra Vegetables, today's test batch using smoked Hungarian wax peppers.

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