April 8, 2010

Vegetable Chili (Con Carne)

Food & Wine magazine arrived a few months back with Winter Vegetable Chili on the cover. Perfect for this part-time vegetarian! I can make a vat of it and freeze for later. Brilliant!

Not wanting to leave the hubby out of dinner, I decided to make half of it veggie and the other half with beef. Both turned out fabulously!

I looked at the recipe and just went to town with the cooking. I didn't follow the directions too much, skipping the whole blender thing altogether. I used diced tomatoes--something I always have on hand--and no chipotle/adobo. I just added the tomatoes and Chipotle Tobasco and keep going. One less step to follow = one less thing to wash, yo!

There wasn't any parsnips at my farmers market. So, I just went with daikon. I have never cooked a daikon before, and we didn't really seek it out when we dine out. So it was to my surprise that Brandon told me he actually likes daikon.

After 10 years of knowing the man, 8 of that being married to him, I just found that out now. Then again, he surprised me when he ordered duck confit at the RH... But I digress.

Daikons and carrots seem to roll in every weekend at my farmers market. So as far as I'm concern, I'm making this thing year round! (Gotta love Southern California!)


Like I said, I'm also not big on using chipotle and adobo. Last time I added that to a chili, the heat was too much for my taste buds and the smokiness was too much for Brandon.

Fortunately, I've fallen in love with Chipotle Tobasco which delivers just enough of the smokiness AND milder heat. It's perfect to use here.

Now, my adaptation of the original recipe for those who want to feed both herbivores and omnivores in the house!

Indecisive Vegetable Chili (Con Carne)

Serve with brown rice, chopped red onions, cilantro, sour cream and tortilla chips or bread toasts.

The Veggie Part
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 half of a large daikon, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces - I used heirloom carrots to add colors.
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Shakes of Chipotle Tobasco - not too horribly spicy, a few shakes will give you the smokiness you need.
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup canned hominy, drained
  • 1 cup canned red kidney beans, drained
  • Optional: A splash of good balsamic vinegar
  • Optional: Cayenne pepper if you want more heat without the smokiness of more Chipotle Tobasco.
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic, cook until slightly softened. Add the bell pepper, daikon and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots. Stir in the chile powder and cumin and season with salt. Cook a little more.


Add water and the diced tomatoes and juices to the pan along with the hominy and beans and bring to a boil.

To have your chili both ways at the same meal, you split the veggie batch in half at this point. Add half of the veggies into the saucepan with the browned meat and keep the other half pure veggies. Simmer both.

Cover partially and simmer the chili over moderate heat until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

All veggies special touch: you can brighten this up with a little balsamic vinegar. I thought it could use a little acidity but instead of the usual apple cider, I thought balsamic would be nicer. And I was right! For some reasons, the balsamic doesn't taste so good with the beef to me. But you can try that if you'd like.


The Con Carne Part
  • A glug of oil
  • About 1 lb. of lean, ground sirloin (or more if you want to make this more of a beef chili with veggies instead of the other way around.)
  • A pinch of salt and pepper.
  • About 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • About 1 tablespoon cumin
  • A splash of Chipotle Tobasco
  • Optional: A tiny, itsy, weensy splash of Worcestershire Sauce.
Heat a glug of oil to a skillet. Brown about 1 lb. of lean ground sirloin, seasoned mildly salt and pepper. Add the spices. Deglaze with a bit of water/broth. Add the beef and pan juices to the veggie chili. Adjust seasoning to your liking.

Con Carne Special Touch: If you'd like a bit more beefiness, add the Worcestershire Sauce. Not too much though. It'll overpower the flavors you've just built.

1 comment:

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Hehe I'm a part time vegetarian too! :D I like how you used daikon in it when you couldn't find parsnips-parsnips can be hard to track down if out of season so that's a good substitute! :D