more adventures in the pantry

by Stacy

At least I’m not alone in my pantry-clearing escapades.

Unsure of what to make for dinner the other night, I ended up with a batch of chili. It turned out to be really convenient as it’s been cool and rainy (thought today is supposed to shift to hot and rainy). Gray days call for warm soup! Or hearty chili.

Random assortment of ingredients: half a package soy veggie crumbles, black beans, canned diced tomatoes, one can chipotle in adobo, one small onion, one clove garlic, frozen corn, fresh jalapenos from the garden, cheddar cheese, two scallions, half a batch Portuguese corn bread dough.

What I ended up with:

vegetarian pantry-buster chili

Other than the fact that the potency of the jalapeno was more than I anticipated, I thought it turned out well. If I had any sour cream, a giant dollop of that would have gone on top to cool the fires. Did I mention that the jalapenos were spicy? I only used one! Other veggies or beans would be great in this, I just didn’t have any of them on hand. I put them in the recipe with notes.

Smoky Veggie Chili

Serves 4

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced (I didn’t have one)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (and seeded if desired)
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
1/2 package vegetarian crumbles (I had Lightlife Gimme Lean, about 7 ounces)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces each) – I used one can “fire-roasted,” one can regular
2 cups water or veggie broth
1 cup black beans, cooked (kidney or garbanzo beans would also be great, instead, or in addition)
1 cup corn kernels, frozen
salt and pepper

For garnish
grated cheddar cheese, minced scallions, cilantro, sour cream

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot (I used my enameled cast iron Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add onion and bay leaves, stirring to coat with oil. Add bell pepper, if using. Cook until onion is just softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, jalapeno, and chipotle peppers. Mix in veggie crumbles, adding an additional tablespoon of oil if needed to prevent sticking (veggie substitutes don’t have as much fat content as real meat, so it can get dry when cooked). Add oregano, cumin, and chili powder, mixing well to coat crumbles with the spices.

Cook until crumbles are heated through, about 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes, one can at a time, stirring well after each addition. Cover and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add water or broth to thin as desired. Different brands of crumbles will absorb different amounts of liquid (or you may just like a soupier chili). Simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add beans. Return to a simmer, covered, for 10-30 minutes, until desired consistency is reached. The longer the simmering time, the better the flavor. Add corn kernels 5-10 minutes before removing from heat.

Remove bay leaves and mix in salt and pepper to taste. If broth was used, salt may not be needed. Garnish with your choice of toppings and serve with cornbread or crusty bread.

This is the recipe for what I ended up with, but it would also be good without beans, or with just means and no fake meat. The fire-roasted tomatoes and the chipotle in adobo lent a nice smoky quality to this batch. The flavors had really melded the next day, so leftovers for lunch were really tasty.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karine August 9, 2009 at 9:34 pm

It looks to be such a comforting meal! Thanks for sharing your recipe!


stacy August 10, 2009 at 2:11 am

Thank you for stopping by!


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