Introduction / Rambling
As planned, we made vegetarian chili and cornbread this week for dinner (even though the weather improved dramatically between Sunday and Monday, and could have been a great day to grill something). Rarely being one to back down from a challenge, I scaled the chili recipe to feed 24 people, despite some notes in the comments indicating the original recipe claiming to serve eight would
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt.
- Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers.
- When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
- Mix the crushed tomatoes into the pot (or shred the tomatoes with shears once in the pot), season with chili powder, pepper, cayenne, and Tabasco.
- Stir in the rinsed and drained kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes.
- Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.
We followed the original recipe as written for the most part, taking a few notes from the comments, and a couple flavor additions courtesy of Naomi’s recommendation. We did drain and rinse the beans and corn, per Destie’s advice. We (I) forgot to crush the whole tomatoes prior to adding them, so thought on my feet, and went to town on them with some kitchen shears immediately after plopping them into the pot. Lastly, we added cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce (probably ~1T each–but remember, for a tripled recipe–didn’t want to make it too spicy for everyone). I think everything was pretty straightforward, but it did take a really long time to get everything up to temperature after adding all the cans of stuff, so it probably didn’t reduce the liquid quite as much as it would have in a smaller preparation simmering 45 minutes would have. Skipping the liquid from the beans and corn probably helped us slightly, because even still, it still didn’t seem too, um, fluid(?) to me. We were less than a centimeter away from overflowing my gigantic
lobster pot by the end, but we pulled through–another great triumph for MND :).
The cornbread wasn’t supposed to be anything special, but Lindy is quite the over-achiever when it comes to baking, so made a double-batch of batter from scratch before she even got here, along with an onion-jalapeño[-something else?] topping for one of the batches. Unfortunately, the batch with the awesome topping flew out of the pan (i.e. into everyone else’s mouths), so I didn’t get to try it, but it sure appeared to be a hit. Additionally, you’ll have to get the recipe (for either/both) from Lindy, since all the magic for that happened at her house–we just put it in some pans and the oven here. I can say that the regular piece of cornbread I had was pretty darn tasty, though.
I think we ended up serving up the chili around 9 PM, which is halfway decent for us (well, for me, anyway). The first few servings were a bit precarious to ladle out of the brimming pot, but people seemed to manage it without incident (thanks guys!). We had cheddar cheese, sour cream, and some diced red onion with which for people to top their chili as desired (and helpful to cut the spice level, if people have more mild tastes). I could have taken a bit more spice in it, but wasn’t at all unhappy with the spice level. I saw one or two people give indications that at least occasional bites were a little spicy for them, but I’m not aware of anyone that found it entirely too spicy. Overall, I’d probably rate it 8/10, and would definitely make this recipe again.