Friday, November 21, 2008
Vegetarian Chili with Cashews
At the farmers market last weekend, I saw zucchini. I know it's the middle of November when I eagerly grab at zucchini at the Farmer's Market (usually I walk on by, as quickly as possible). I'd had a hankering for Vegetarian Chili with cashews for a while and the zucchini was all I needed for that little extra bit of encouragement.
First a brief disclaimer. In the Texas sense of the word chili, this is not chili. In Texas, your chili does not have beans in it. That basically means the name Vegetarian Chili is an oxymoron. If it doesn't have met it can't be chili. I am not from Texas (just reside here now) and I think chili should have beans. Thus, my love for this recipe.
To make the vegetarian chili, saute 2 small chopped onions and 1 clove of minced garlic in a T of oil in a large soup pot for 5 minutes. Add to the onions and garlic 2 diced medium zucchini, 2 diced stalks of celery, 2 diced medium carrots, 2 diced bell peppers, 2 T chili powder, 1 t cumin, 1/2 t cayenne, 2 bay leaves, and 2 T brown sugar (I actually left the chili powder and cayenne out in hopes the kids would eat it). Cover and simmer over low heat for 4 minutes. Stir in 2 (15-oz) cans of kidney beans and 2 (15-oz) cans of tomato sauce. I didn't have any tomato sauce so I used a pint jar of tomato juice I canned earlier in the summer and a pint jar of end of the garden I had canned (end of the garden is canned tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions). I since it was thinner than juice, I simmered it down for about 30 minutes before I started making supper. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, but not mushy, and flavors have blended (about 10 minutes). Remove bay leaves. Serve and top each bowl with a handful of roasted, unsalted cashews. (If you put the cashews straight in the pot, the leftovers will end up with soft, bloated cashews). This is a large recipe. It can easily serve at least 8 people.
M and J weren't thrilled with supper tonight. They both really like the whole wheat toast topped with local honey, but didn't eat a lot of soup. M said she liked it, I just don't think she was especially hungry for some reason. Curtis and I both loved it. I thought it was exactly like this cold November day needed.