I tend to overload my chili with too many ingredients, sometimes -- too many veggies, too many different kinds of beans, cooked grains, TVP, etc. Sometimes this can be too much of a good thing . . . once when I put a bunch of kale in chili, Dan commented, "this tastes really healthy." Uh-oh . . . in my book, healthy food shouldn't "taste healthy," know what I mean?
So, when I set out to make some chili last weekend, I chose NOT to use a recipe -- mostly because many of my chili recipes are complicated enough, without my temptation to add extra things. :) My goals with this chili were as follows:
1. To use up an extra red bell pepper that was starting to get a little "wilty" in my produce drawer
2. To have a basic, "beans-and-tomatoes" flavor
Short story long, I succeeded:
As I was digging around looking for that past-its-prime bell pepper, I found five cremini mushrooms that needed to be used up, so I decided to mince those and toss 'em in, too. (I can't EVER leave well enough alone, can I?) But this addition turned out to be a VERY good thing, because the minced mushrooms mocked ground meat in an almost eerie way -- and from now on, I will add minced mushrooms to my chili!
Here's the recipe:
Saute in a splash of olive or canola oil:
1 cup finely-chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
up to 1 cup of minced cremini or white button mushrooms (I'm guessing a food processor would make quick work of mincing mushrooms . . . I just don't have one)
Add, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20+ minutes:
4 cups cooked beans (I used half black, half kidney)
28 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
about 1/3 can water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon veggie broth base
2 tablespoons hot sauce (whatever you like best will work fine)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
I have been eating this almost all week long, topped with a little monterey jack cheese and scooped up with copious amounts of tortilla chips. :) A yummy, filling lunch!
Sometimes simpler really is better. :)