Flexitarian Chili Recipe
It's football season! Or, as I like to call it, hiding in the kitchen, "cooking," with a glass or 8 of wine season. If you're entertaining - or just looking for something to feed your own crowd of grownups & kids with varying tastes - this chili is for you. It's my own concoction, tested on lots of chili fans and it's always a winner. Try switching up the protein source according to your family's tastes. Or omit the protein, add another bean choice, & substitute vegetable stock to make it vegetarian. It's flexitarian! Whatever that means. I promise, this recipe is a crowd pleaser.
Apparently, "real" chili is not much more than stewed meat. I made that once and it was delicious (we did it right up with lots of cheese & a side of Fritos corn chips, apparently the only way they eat chili in the South), but 1 pound of meat in a bowl is not something I can in good conscience serve my family on a regular basis. Adding in the veggies chopped into bite-size pieces means you up the fibre & vitamins massively -- and ensures little people don't selectively leave big, noticeable chunks of carrots & bell pepper in the bottom of their bowls.
This recipe uses lentils & baked beans in place of kidney or black beans because my family are not bean eaters, and the ground meat & lentils blend together into a lovely rich stew that basically requires no chewing. BONUS! For an extra boost, I eat mine with a scoop of plain full-fat yoghurt for that sour cream flavour. It's a one-bowl meal that tastes like a treat. And it tastes even better leftover the next day or two for fibre- and protein-packed lunches!
serves 8 with 2 lb. meat (heartily)
- 1-2 lb ground turkey, lean pork, or lean beef
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1-2 carrots, chopped
- 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 500 mL. low-sodium or sodium-free beef broth (1/2 tetrapak)
- 1 can lentils, rinsed
- 1 can baked beans in tomato sauce
- 1 can sodium-free whole tomatoes
- 1 can tomato paste
- 3-4 tbsp chili powder
- 1-2 tbsp paprika, cumin and oregano each (to taste)
- 1 tsp cayenne or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- yoghurt, chopped scallions, chopped fresh cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese to garnish (optional)
1. Heat oil and brown meat in large pot over medium-high heat; drain any excess fat.
2. Add garlic, onion and spices and saute 2-3 minutes.
3. Add remaining vegetables (except parsley), legumes and liquids and mix well.
4. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat & simmer on low 1-2 hours until desired consistency is reached; season with salt & pepper.
5. Add parsely before serving and garnish with a dollop of yoghurt & chopped scallions and/or cilantro, if using. Dig in!