You Don’t Win Friends with Salad

I don’t remember exactly when my brother became a vegetarian.  I guess it isn’t really something you mark on a calendar.  I think though it happened sometime either during my first year of university or last year of high school, in other words, a long time ago.
Slowly my mom also took too to cooking mostly vegetarian meals for herself and while she hasn’t gone whole hog (excuse the pun) the vegetarian offerings at family meals usually out weigh anything meat related (not that I am complaining).
I know that I myself probably couldn’t commit to a fully veg lifestyle, but to be honest the meat options in my little household are limited mostly to chicken and fish, with occasional pork thrown in.  Red meat is rarely here, mostly because I am not very adept at cooking it.
Over the last few weeks I have been debating about what I want to post, what is really worthy.  I have been cooking a lot and there is not shortage of material, just not a lot of photos I guess. But as we all know I am not really a photographer anyway.  Vanessa Heins, however is and she is the one who took the photo above, at a shoot we did for my Mom as a birthday present.
When Dylan came over to drop off the proofs from the shoot I wanted to make an evening of it with some dinner.  I looked on Rachael Ray for vegetarian recipes and found the chili below.  I didn’t have high hopes for it but it really came through.  
Chili is a tricky thing, everyone has their own special recipe and preferences, I personally like Jamie Oliver’s Chili Con Carne from the Happy Days with the Naked Chef book.   This however is my new favourite recipe for veg chili and I hope it will be yours too. Even if you are meat fan this will convert you (Homer didn’t even realize it was meat free until I told him).
Three-Bean Chili
Adapted from Rachael Ray’s Website
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
1 can black beans (14 ounces)
1 can dark red kidney beans (14 ounces)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne hot pepper sauce (several drops)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup spicy vegetarian refried beans
Shredded Cheese
Tortilla Chips for Dipping
Start by taking the onion, peppers, and garlic and blending them in a food processor into very very very small pieces (it will be a liquidy don’t be scared!).   This is the key to faking out carnivores, no big chunks!
Over moderate heat, add the two tablespoons EVOO, two turns around the pan, to a DEEP pot. Add your blended vegetable mixture and heat for 3-5 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with broth add tomatoes, black beans and red kidney beans and stir to combine.
Season with cumin, chili powder, hot sauce and salt.  Thicken chili by stirring in refried beans.  Simmer over low heat about 5-10 minutes longer then serve up bowls of chili and top with shredded cheese and scallions.  Place bowls on charger plates piled with tortilla chips.

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