Good morning beautiful people,
I’ve ben meaning to get this post to you earlier in the week, i.e.Sunday, but the day, and the beginning of the week, has gotten the best of me. Luckily, this chili is luscious and has set the tone for a wonderful week of delicious food creation.
In all honesty, I made this chili on Saturday night, after my son went to bed and I had the entire house all to myself, surrounded by peace and quiet… with Stingray’s Nothing but 90’s music channel playing in the background. Blissful! The reason I made this Sunday night chili on Saturday, goes beyond the fact that I wouldn’t have time to make it on Sunday because I had to go shopping for warmer clothes for my baby. It actually had everything to do with spices and giving them the time and rest they need to fully develop.
See spices are kinda like humans: when you get a good night sleep, you are so much more efficient the next day. Spices are the same. When given time to rest, they give you the best of themselves and pack whatever dish they’re in with loads of yummy flavour. Ever noticed how things like curries, soups and stews, taste better the next day? Yup, it all has to do with giving spices their time to rest. Now if you really want to get technical with this, according to the Institute of Food Technologists, [leftovers often taste better the next day] generally because chemical reactions continue to take place that produce more and/or new flavor molecules. Some flavor enhancement may involve the breakdown of proteins to release amino acids such as glutamate and small nucleotides that interact to enhance savory, meaty umami taste, or reaction of amino acids with sugars to produce new flavor molecules by the Maillard reaction (browning), which can occur when the leftovers are reheated.
Now that we’ve got the science part down pack, let’s get back to this chili. It’s creamy, luscious and uber satisfying. And because this recipe easily makes for 8 portions, you and your family can enjoy the leftovers in your lunch the next day or even the day after that. It keeps very well for up to 3 days in the fridge.
The reason behind all this lusciousness is due to one secret ingredient: pureed pumpkin! This beloved halloween vegetable is very versatile and has a subtle flavour without overpowering the dish. It also adds quite a nutrition punch. 1 cup of pureed pumpkin gives you 763% of vitamin A (important for vision, regulates genes, supports the immune system and facilitates red blood cell production), 49% of vitamin K (important for cardiovascular health and bone restoration, helping to prevent osteoporosis and atherosclerosis) and 28% of dietary fibre and we all know what that’s important for! Delicious and nutritious, I’ll take that any day!
Now this recipe is a bit spicy, because that’s how we like our food in my family. But if this recipe packs too much heat for you, don’t hesitate to tone it down. I use tomatillo salsa in my chili, which tends to be spicy. If you want to control the spice level, use mild regular salsa instead. The recipe also call for jalapeño. Again, if you don’t want too much heat, make sure you remove all the seeds before adding to your chili as that’s where pepper gets all its heat. I also add chipotle spice which is also quite spicy. If that’s not your thing, add more smoked paprika to keep that smokey flavour without the heat.
There is one last ingredient you’ll find in there that might surprise you, and that is cacao powder. Yes, like the cacao powder you use in desserts. I started using cacao powder in my chilis decades ago, after going to an ice cream parlour with my parents (in my pre-vegan days) and ordering their Mexican ice cream. To my surprise, the chocolate ice cream had cayenne pepper in it. At first, I was turned off and totally disappointed (I tried to exchange it with my dad but to no avail!). But the more I ate, the more I enjoyed it and it actually accentuated the chocolate flavour. When I first tried it in my chili, I noticed the chocolate enhanced the chili’s flavour. You’ll also find chocolate in most authentic mole recipes.
I hope you and your family enjoy this chili as much as we do! Let me know if you’ve added your own twist and secret ingredients to this chilis.
- 2 tsp palm oil
- 1 onion, finally diced
- 3 garlic gloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
- 1 30oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa
- 1 cup corn kernel (I use yellow and cream)
- 1 cup white kidney beans, cooked
- 2 cups black beans, cooked
- 3 Tbs chili powder
- 1 Tbs roasted garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika powder
- 2 Tbs cacao powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a cast iron pot, heat the palm oil over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the diced red bell pepper and jalapeño.
- Add all the spices except the cacao powder. Stir the spices to evenly coat the onion mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes while stirring constantly to avoid the spices from burning.
- Add the diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, pureed pumpkin and salsa. Stir to combine and reduce to low heat.
- Add the corn, beans and cacao powder. Stir.
- Let the chili simmer for about 20 minutes and then serve with vegan sour cream, corn tortilla chips and a squeeze of lime juice.