Sunday, January 4, 2015

Vegan Mushroom Chili

Vegan Mushroom Chili

I am no vegan, but sometimes vegans come into my life. The recipient of this vegan chili is one of my husband's co-workers. She has a very unfortunate condition that prevents her from eating ANY animal products. My husband volunteered me to make Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili for his school's administrative staff holiday dinner... yadda, yadda, yadda... vegan mushroom chili. When I tasted the chili I thought it tasted decent, but not something I would want for a meal. Kristy, on the other hand, loved the chili. She told me during dinner that she loved it, but I knew for sure when I found her later on in the kitchen eating bites of the chili with some Fritos Scoops. Yay! I love it when that happens. It just does my heart good to know that I can make something yummy for someone who's diet is so restricted.
Since I'm not a vegan, and I'm really not a huge fan of vegetables, you may have some better ideas for the veggies to add to this chili. The key to the flavor is really the spices I think.  
At any rate, if you or someone you care about is vegan, and enjoys spicy food, give this a go. I think you'll like it. And if you do, please let me know because it makes me happy.

Vegan Mushroom Chili
  --adapted from CookEatShare
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 portobello mushrooms cooked and sliced/cubed (I grilled them)
  • 1 small to medium eggplant, cooked and diced (I grilled them)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Natural Spread
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted poblano pepper*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced green chili pepper (I used a serrano**)
  • 1/3 cup Better Batter Gluten Free Flour (all-purpose works too, but Better Batter IS better)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth/stock
  • 2 tablespoons salsa verde
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili garlic paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon chipotle Tobasco
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 can 15.8 oz. white beans 
  • white rice
  • pico de gallo (garnish)
  • 3 green onions, sliced (garnish)

Combine cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.

Heat canola oil and Earth Balance Spread in a large sauté pan or a dutch oven (dutch oven if you're doubling the recipe for sure) over medium heat.

Add onions and saute until translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the poblanos and green chilis.

Add the spice mix and the flour, stir to incorporate, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

Add the vegetable stock a little at a time, whisking to smooth out any lumps.

Add the salsa verde, chili garlic paste, and chipotle tabasco.

Allow to come to a simmer over medium heat, and then add the mushrooms and eggplant into pan/pot.

Simmer for 5 minutes and add the coconut milk and white beans. Stir to incorporate.

Serve and with rice and garnish with pico de gallo and green onions.

Makes about 5 servings.

*To roast the poblano, you do it over a gas burner on low-medium or a grill on high heat (that's what I did). If you don't have either of those options, I've heard you can do this in a cast iron skillet, but that's just one more pan you'll have to clean later. Put it directly on the grate and turn every now and then to evenly scorch it all over. Once it's bubbled and burned all over, you place it either in a zip top bag or seal tightly in aluminum foil (which is what I did). Let sit for about 15 minutes to steam. Then you peel off all the blackness, cut it open, scrape out the seeds, stem, and any "ribs" inside. Then chop. (I had to google this one.)

**For the green chili pepper, I really just went to the grocery store down the street, stood in front of the section of chiles in the produce section, and found a small pepper that said said "green chili" (turns out it was a serrano pepper--see Visual Guide to Peppers). Okay, actually, I looked "green chili pepper" up on google images first, and saw that they were on the small side, so I used one of those small, thin green peppers that's about 3-4 inches long. I put on some plastic gloves (food service type) and chopped off the top of the pepper, quartered it, scraped out the seeds and ribs, julienned, and diced it.

For more information about peppers, see this visual guide to peppers: Visual Guide to Peppers.

Four portobellos was too much, and I think this eggplant
was not the best. My experiment seemed to work
despite these things, though.

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