Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne- Sort of....
I woke up today and everything was grey. The sky was leaking, the trees blowing and the cool winter causing my joints to stiffen. I decided I wanted Chili but I didn't really have any chili powder, not the right kind of beans and not to mention short on veggies.....but damn it; I wanted my Chili.
So I started with the basics...
Mix together Textured Soy Protein with cumin, garlic powder and veggie base. Add some boiling water and let sit about 10min or so.....doesn't have to be to precise and it depends a lot on the size of the TSP or TVP....
Next grab some veggies. Sadly I didn't have many but I did have some Mushrooms, Onion and Garlic. But you can add carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, corn and almost what ever else you can think of.
You will need beans...I did have some black and white beans, which was totally fine. If you do happen to have Garbanzo beans (chic peas) or Kidney Beans even better) I Took about a cup...but again it doesn't really matter. If you like more beans add more and less add less. The most important part of beans is to make sure that they are cooked completely and properly. If you aren't sure cook until the beans start to crack, or when you bite into one there is some texture but not much. If you still aren't sure, practice or buy canned beans.
Fry the mushroom, onion and garlic together, when the onions are translucent, add some spice. Now this is a trick, since I didn't have the magical Chili spice, I sort of made my own. Chilli powder is just a mixture of spices, you too can do this. I used Paprika, Cumin and Oregano I could have added Cayenne Powder, dried Garlic and dried Onion powder if I desired to make a proper Chili spice mix but since my wife is intolerant to chilies and I felt there was enough onion and garlic in the Chili, I skipped it. The amount of spice depends on you. But start with about 1 tbsp. Later on, when we check the flavor you can add a bit more if you desire.
Add about 1 tbsp tomato paste and fry for about 1 or 2min to bring out some of the flavors from the spices.
Add about 1 cup of veggie broth.
Add some crushed tomato or tomato sauce, just enough to cover the beans and veggies. Add to this the textured soy protein, 1 or 2 bay leaves and about 2 tsp of sugar. Don't skip the sugar. If you don't like processed sugar add agave, rice, honey or some other sweetener. Tomatoes love a little sweetness and you will to. For a fun, different flavor add a little chocolate.
The next part will make or break your chili.
Grab your favorite Josh Ritter album and turn it up as loud as you can. I recommend "The Animal Years" and listen to the whole album (if you like records like I do, both Side A and Side B)
When that's done. This is what the Chili will look like.
Season with Salt and Pepper. How much is up to you. Take a spoon and try the chili first, then adjust slowly. Also, if you try it and it just tastes like wet, add some more "Chili" spice. This is your moment to make it great.
Now take it from the heat. If you have Parsley or Cilantro this is the time to add it. Just a bit to give it a bit of a pep. I didn't so it is what it is.
So, I poured some over rice and some into a bun.
But you can eat the Chili like soup or with potatoes or any way you want.
FYI: Chili con carne dates back to 1850's and classically refers to chilies and meat simmered together. Veggies, beans and spices being a more modern version of the classic can still ruffle the feathers of some so I caution calling this Chili and definitely don't call it chili con carne but Chili sin carne would work...sort of.