Ok, so there is a very Suburban Traditional version of the chili recipe that’s probably been floating around since the 50s. It is tomato based and I’m sure it probably came out of McCall’s or some similar magazine for aspiring non-regional cooks to spice up Friday night so it wasn’t always about meatloaf. Now, despite not being a native, I’ve read up on it enough to know that tomato chili is not authentic, plus I’ve been enough times to the Southwest to tasted the difference between the tomato, beef and bean version from a chili pepper flesh version.
However, that’s not to say, you cannot marry the old school of chili based in chili peppers and chili that is steep in the tomato regime, which is what this very vegetarian version seeks to do. Funny enough, the original Mexican chili recipes from what I understand were veggie stews anyhow, so the concept itself isn’t that far off. However, one could very easily make this using ground meat like my mom always did… perhaps another recipe for another time. This uses the pre-packaged veggie crumble available in most freezer sections, but hand chopped veggie burgers can work as a substitute. The tomatoes are the canned, diced kind, fresh can work too, if you have them available (I didn’t, sorry not Jersey Tomato season yet), either way, you have to get the liquids out, but for some reason canned actually works better because the skins are less prominent I think.
tomato (pressed, but hold the liquids too)
dark red kidney beans
stock (mostly veggie, but beef, or perhaps pork can work too)
Finely dice the onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery and place in a stock pot over low heat
Sweat the veggies over low heat allowing their flavors to meld, season with the house season (it should contain some salt, if not add sea salt to aid in the sweating) keep stirring so nothing burns
Once the veggies are thoroughly sweat and just beginning to brown add the pressed chopped tomato and the diced chipolte, re-season with the house seasoning
Continue to work the mixture over low heat to continue melding the flavors, and keep stirring so nothing burns and add the dried rosemary and the bay leaf
Add the tomato juices and stock in equal parts (do not make over wet) and season with the chili power, cumin and house seasoning
Allow to simmer over low heat to let the flavors meld
Add the tomato paste (and adobo from the chipolte as necessary) After 20-30 minutes (minimum) or as the existing liquid has reduced by half add the kidney beans and cilantro after the mixture
Continue to simmer adding stock as necessary through the rest of the cooking process, re-season with house seasoning and/or chilli power as necessary
After it is fully simmered serve, the longer the better, short version could be as little as 30-40 minutes, long version 3-6 hours. For me today, I served it over huge dollop of grits with some chopped collards. Grits, you say! Yes, grits. Ok, a little irregular, or so seemingly, but trust me, it’s a great experience on this type of chili, I love chili’s served on unique tables, my rojo is over a corn bread, so since this is a veg dish this seemed like a tasty idea.