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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday Dinner #5- Vegetarian Chilli

This week is so crazy busy. Monday Paul had an after work party with his bosses. Yesterday, we went house hunting after work, and then I drove to CT to watch the lost finale with Mike (btw, wow!). Tonight we're driving to Springfield to see Steve, and this weekend we're driving up to Maine for the first weekend in Wells of the summer. I'm excited about Maine. There's apparently going to be a big town-wide yard sale of Saturday, so I'm hoping to pick up some goodies.

The busy-ness of life this week does lend itself to a Wednesday dinner that cooks itself. This chilli is made in a crock pot, so you can throw it together at lunch time and have it ready when you walk in the door at the end of the day.

This dish also planted the seed of wanting to try a more meatless life in my head. It's hearty and delicious, and kind of demonstrates that sustaining food can exist without meat in it.

This recipe is from the joy of cooking, though I tweaked it a little to my tastes.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chilli

1 Onion
2 Jalepenos, seeded
1 Tomato
2 Medium carrots
3 Celery Ribs
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
2 Garlic cloves
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Bag of Dried Kidney Beans
2 cups Frozen Corn Kernals
6 Cups Water
1 can of Tomato paste
Chilli Powder and Salt to taste

Life has been so hectic, that I forgot to soak the dry beans overnight! Luckily, there's another way to soften dry beans that's only slightly more labor intensive. Simply boil the beans for 1 to 1.5 hours.
I find that this method isn't as consistent as the overnight soak is, and that some of the beans still have a gritty consistency. But it's good in a pinch when you forget. Once your beans are soft, you can drain them and add them to the crock pot.

Next, take all your raw vegetables (plus the garlic cloves) and give them a good thorough chopping.

Heat the Olive oil in your biggest sauce pan. Add the garlic first, then all the other vegetables. Coat the veggies with chilli powder and cook until soft. Put them into the crock pot with the beaners.

Now, boil 2 cups of water, and add the can of tomato paste. Once the paste is dissolved, add the mixture to your crock pot. This is the base of the tomato broth. Add four more cups of water to the pot. Stir well.

Cover, and cook on low for 6 hours. Add salt and Chilli powder to taste. Half an hour before serving, add the corn.

This is really good with grated cheddar cheese. It probably serves about 10, so you'll have leftovers to heat up after all your daily mayhem.

PS: Check out this cute rabbit that's been hanging around our house! Yesterday, I opened the door and he was practically sitting right on the front step. I tried to give him a carrot the other day, but he was not having it.

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