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Friday, October 8, 2010

Chunky Vegetable Chili

The Kinaymans have gone vegetarian this week! OK, not entirely, but three vegetarian dishes in one week is a lot for us. And I'm not sure of the reason; I just know that while going through recipes to put together this week's menu, I was drawn to those from my vegetarian days.

This recipe, and again I don't know its source, is extremely simple. Maybe too simple. I think it's also a great example of testing your food as you cook it. I relied on the recipe too heavily and in the last minutes, found the flavor to be a bit bland. I was able to correct it, but would suggest you also don't follow the spices to the letter. It might be enough flavor for you, but if it isn't, add more cumin and chili powder.

Chunky Vegetable Chili

2 medium potatoes (2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 t0 16 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 medium zucchini, cubed (1 cup)

1. Heat all ingredients except zucchini to boiling in a 4-quart Dutch oven, breaking up tomatoes and stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 13 minutes or until potato is tender.

2. Stir in zucchini. Cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes longer or until zucchini is tender.

3. If desired, top chili with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and/or green onions.

The Verdict: Meh.

Even with the spice corrections, this chili is good but not great. It's really easy to throw together during a busy weeknight meal, which gives it points. But there's nothing special in it that gives it that extra zing.

The one thing I liked a lot about this recipe was the use of potatoes. I really like chili on a baked potato, but I've never had potato in chili, not even vegetarian chili. The Mexican-flavored tomato base of the chili worked well with the taste and texture of the potato.
Quick note: Many of you know that leftovers aren't my thing, but I will readily admit that a lot of dishes taste best as leftovers. This chili is one of them. Amir and I had it for lunch today and the day between eating it again allowed for the spices to hang out with the vegetables and really saturate the dish. So...yum!

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