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Impromptu Vegan Chili, suggestions wanted

Sunday, 5 July, 2015

For reasons which remain mysterious the quick, easy and reasonably priced Fantastic World Foods Vegetarian Chili mix is no longer in inventory around here. I wanted to make something with a combo of lentils, rice and beans. Complete protein, lots of Bs and E. The chili stuff which was once a mainstay of every bulk-foods aisle is simply missing.

I started bringing up recipes for vegetarian/vegan chili. These are all about 80% the same. Typically involving up to six cans of something, a laundry list of spices and a brag about quick preparation. None were right. So I improvise.

½ lb. or 1¼ Cup brown rice (rinsed once only to retain bran for texture)
½ lb. or 1 Cup pinto beans (measured then pre soaked, substitute your favorite bean)
½ lb. or 1¼ Cup split peas or lentils of your choice
4½ cups water (Strictly, this is too little water for your legumes, but the vegetables make up for it.)
2 carrots
1 Anaheim pepper (optional, or substitute peppers of your choice)
1 sweet onion (adjust onion variety to taste)
2 green bell peppers (seeds not removed)
1 Cup Fiesta-brand “quick chili mix”, a spice blend (a regionally appropriate commercial spice blend may be substituted)
1 Tbsp each, cumin and paprika (optional)
1 30 oz. (or so) can of diced or crushed tomatoes

Chop fine or grate your fresh produce then dump everything in the slow cooker. The spice blend is 75% of what the label instructions recommend for that amount of water.

In practice I set the slow cooker on high for 5 hours. If I were starting this in the morning to enjoy in the evening, I’d keep it on low for 9-12 hours.

I know I’ve published metric or weight equivalents of measures in the past, but today I’m going to have to skip it. If you do the translation, I would be very pleased to add.

Chili-Mix analog for those out in the world:
¼ Cup chili powder
2 Tbsp corn flour (optional if blending your own)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion powder

The latter two may be deleted and replaced with fresh product when blending your own or adding directly to the pot. The salt is not optional as it helps the vegetables sweat, break down and make chili.

Update 11 July ’15:  The second batch has been completed. Red bell peppers in the place of green ones. One cup of the Chili Mix was more than one-half of the container, so less was used. For kicks, corn was added. What is notable is that this batch was cooked on low for ten hours, then left in the slow cooker to cool for an additional two hours. When removed the ingredients were far more coherent; it hadn’t broken down to “make chili”. I presume shorter cooking time  on high is required for the traditional consistency.

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