Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Step 3: Slowly Goes It

Stewing, Chilis, Soups, and Roast: Good things taken slow.
Some walks beg brevity, like these long cold mornings commuting to and fro.
Others, a strolling pace through the summer sun, autumn leaves, and not-soon-enough puddling spring.
On this cold weekend, wedged nicely between a snowy week and an uncertain storm to come, Chili reaching south to the flavors of warmer places is a thing cooked slow and low.

Drawing from a recipe I saw in Vegetarian Living for South American Spicy Chocolate Chili with Banana, I made my own rendition.
A Dollop of Sweet Goats Cheese, a bed of Kale and Brown Rice. A warm and hearty dish on a cold winter night and appropriate on a week meant for love and chocolatey things. I added more vegetables and a touch of meaty seitan to more suit my tastes, that and forwent the beans in light of a Lentil bounty!
Next time though, I really would have preferred good iconic Kidney Beans...

An Inspired Chocolate Lentil Chili

  • 1 Cup Lentils, Cooked
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Onion, half sliced, half diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot, halved and slivered
  • 1 stalk Celery, sliced in 1/4" pieces
  • 1 tsp gresh Ginger, minced or grated
  • 2-3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Stock
  • Seitan: I used a 1/2" slice of Field Roast Celebration Loaf diced into small cubes, but any meaty seitan will work cut-up small.
  • 1/2 or whole Chopped Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup good strong ale
    • drink some, not a bad one.
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 3 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Begin by boiling those lentils according to the directions, reserving a bit of liquid to add to the chili; if you used an equivalent amount of beans, drain, rinse, and set aside. Sweat out the Onions, Garlic, and Olive Oil for ~5 minutes on medium-low heat. Add in the Carrots, celery, and pepper and let it brown together, stirring occasionally and add Seitan and paste after a few minutes; allow to brown on slightly higher heat. Let this simmeh' and adding stock and beer reserved from drinking a bit after allowing the tomato paste to seep in for a few minutes first. 

Add spices, ginger, and seitan, stirring but allowing the ingredients to bubble together. Increase heat again and add lentils, more stock + lentil water saved if necessary. Now, add that delicious Chocolate powder and stir well - it doesn't like to homogenize. Add Banana after 10 or so minutes on medium heat, stirring in. Let simmer at medium-lo heat for ~15 minutes, stir, and reduce heat. Cover and simmer, checking consistency to assure it doesn't burn or non chili-like.

I Would like to change my Chili to actually be a chili - not a lentil stew as it so stands. That said, it accompanies a good cup of brown rice very well!

Lesson learned: Cooking for one doesn't mean you cant have your Valentine's Chocolate too.
Be Present and food is a gift enough?

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