T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chili…with Cornbread
I did some research on the history of chili for this post and I need to start by saying that the chili purist community is fairly snobby about what they consider to be “real” chili. Well, they are not going to like this recipe in the slightest, I’ll tell you that much for free. I don’t care though, because this is chili as I know it and it’s delicious. So they should just chill…..i out.
I have family in Mexico and Texas and my grandparents lived in Mexico for a spell (once upon a time), so growing up Tex-Mex food was loved and abundant in our household. Years ago (in the pre-vegan dark ages of my life) I started developing and honing my own chili recipe. When I went vegan it came with me; the meat was out and the total bean count shot through the roof. This recipe is still ever changing and is constantly adjusted depending upon my tastes/culinary obsession of the day. That’s the beauty of it: it grows with you.
Side note: I am a spice fiend. I believe it began with my unhealthy obsession with the Spice Girls as a child and then transferred to hot foods as I grew. Whatever the root, it’s got a hold of me now and I love my food like I love my men: the hotter the better! Keeping in mind that not all taste buds are like mine, I have scaled back the pepper content and seasoning mixture in the recipe below. Seriously, I have made grown men cry–and that’s before they had even tasted my chili!
I had not planned on making a pot o’ chili this past weekend, but my omnivorous best friend (you remember Supervisor Jim!) requested it after our Saturday shift. So we went home and made it, easy as that! What I love most about making chili is that I know the ingredients off by heart and can stop by the store on the way home without a list. And that’s a big thing for my (vegan) Swiss cheese-like brain. Huzzah! When we make this recipe we almost always double it, for two reasons: a) It gets shared amongst everyone who knows there’s a pot is on the stove, b) We like lots of leftovers. So please keep in mind that the ingredients in these pictures are doubled.
Big Red’s Chili Sin Carne
- 3 gloves garlic
- 1-3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pkg (340 g) Yves Original Veggie Ground Round
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
- 1-2 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
- 2 fresh chili peppers (or 1 other, ie Cubanelle or Hungarian Wax), seeded and chopped
- 1 can (28 oz or 828 ml) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cans (15.5 oz or 458 ml) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14 oz or 398 ml) tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1-2 tablespoons dried crushed chilis or red pepper flakes (this is a huge source of heat. If you’re a wimp watch the amount you add in)
- Hot sauce (to taste)
We begin by draining and rinsing our beans. Rinsing the beans rinses the farts away, it’s a scientific fact. It also gets rid of the excess salt. (Don’t worry, we’ll add it back later.)
I’ve also gotten into the habit of soaking my rinsed beans while I prep the veggies. As I had a giant bowl of beans ‘n’ water sitting in the sink my Mama walked by and said, “You don’t have to soak those, you know.” And I was all, “Psshhtt, I always do.” And low and behold, when I checked my own recipe later, there was ne’er a mention of soaking said beans. Oh Mother, why do you always have to be right?! Whatever, I’m the boss and it’s being added to the recipe. Soak your effing beans (if you’d like).
Right before you start cooking the chili, preheat your oven to 425°F for the cornbread. And now carry on…
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. I give you a range for the oil measurement because I know some (healthier) folk like to use less, while I tend to use too much. So go where you’re happy. Cook ground round, garlic, onion and bell pepper until heated through and onion is tender-crisp, stirring frequently.
Stir in everything else: jalapeño peppers, other pepper(s), tomatoes with juice, beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, salt, oregano, cumin, crushed chilis/red pepper flakes, and a few healthy splashes of hot sauce.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes to blend flavors.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, start your cornbread. You’ll have just enough time to make and bake this delicious side in the time the chili is simmering away on your stovetop.
This is the cornbread recipe I grew up with, veganised. Big Jim and I got into the habit of calling it co’nbread whilst baking (don’t even ask, we’re terrible for being juvenile and speaking in accents, real or imaginary), so if I refer to it as such throughout the post you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Deligh’ful Veg’n Co’nBread
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tbsp sugar (organic & fair trade, if you please!)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Egg replacer for the equivalent of 2 eggs
- 1 cup soy milk
- ¼ vegetable oil
Your oven should now be a toasty 425°F. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan.
In a bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients. I have done none of this in the picture below, but you’ll have to imagine it.
In a small bowl, beat together commercial egg replacer as per instructions on the box. Add egg replacer, soy milk, and oil to the well in the dry ingredients. I don’t know what size of a bowl the original recipe authors were working with, but we clearly were not on the same page. Our well was tiny and flooded over quite swiftly. If that happens quickly stir with a fork or spoon to moisten, then stir vigorously 30 seconds, just until blended. Do not overbeat. Batter may be slightly lumpy.
Pour into greased pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre of cornbread comes out clean.
Cool on rack 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm. The outside will be crispy and the inside fluffy and crumby. Deligh’ful!
If you time it as perfectly and slightly frighteningly as we did, your chili should finish simmering as your 10 cooling minutes are up for your bread.
Spoon some red haht chili into a bowl, top with your favourite extras (vegan sour crème and Daiya cheese, anyone?), grab a fluffy piece of co’nbread for the side, and hoe in!
Yeeeeeehaaaaawwwwww, Cowpoke! Yer eatin’ Tex-Mex! Now, wasn’t that easy and completely wrong according to The Chili Appreciation Society International? Sure was!