As a judge at a chili cook-off, I quickly learned that some like it hot, some mild, some with meat others without. One thing was definite: Everyone was passionate about chili.
Here is a variation I created using only vegetables, which makes a perfect easy dinner during this busy season.
My chili uses hominy, a grain that American Indians introduced to the colonists. It is dried white or yellow corn that has been soaked or boiled to remove the hulls and is sold canned or dried; hominy gives this chili an interesting texture.
The canned version is perfect for this recipe. Frozen or canned corn can be substituted if hominy is difficult to find.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced (1 cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 stalk celery, diced (½ cup)
1 small green pepper, diced (½ cup)
2 carrots, diced (½ cup)
1 ½-cups red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
½ cup hominy or frozen corn
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 slices crusty whole grain bread
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons diced red onion
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large nonstick saucepan. Add onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic, celery, green pepper and carrots.
Sauté 3 minutes. Add kidney beans, tomatoes, hominy, chili powder and cumin. Simmer 20 minutes, covered. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Add chili powder or cumin as needed. Warm bread in oven for 5 minutes. Slice and serve with chili. Pass bowls of sour cream, onion and cilantro. Makes 2 servings.
• To save preparation time, use fresh diced vegetables found in the produce section of the market. • If using a food processor, it will be easier to slice the vegetables rather than dicing them.
• Red onion is used both for the garnish and recipe. Prepare it at one time and save 2 tablespoons for the garnish.
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