Sunday night, we made a recipe that we’ve been waiting to try again for a long time: Winter Vegetable Chili from “Food + Wine”. We used some very colorful Black Dirt Region rainbow carrots that we got from Fresh Direct (www.freshdirect.com), including the beautiful, deep, dark purple one in the photo below, to give this recipe a different look. Tony describes how this dinner came together.
We picked this recipe for a Sunday, because we knew it would probably take more time to make than we would have on weeknight, but as I got into it, I remembered that it really doesn’t take that long at all. The reason for that is simple: unlike a meat based chili, which you can cook for a very long time and it gets better and better, if you cook this too long, the vegetables will turn to mush and your chili will be ruined. This is another one of those great recipes that doesn’t take a huge amount of time but delivers a high amount of flavor.
It did take a bit of time to prep everything, as I had to peel and cut up the carrots and parsnips, then cut up the red pepper, and then dice the onion and garlic. This is not very hard, but two words of caution about the parsnips and carrots. Both veggies are pretty tough, so you want to use a sharp knife; the last thing you want is for your knife to slip while you’re trying to get it through a big carrot. Also, if you’re using a purple carrot, be prepared for the cutting board, your hand, and anything else the carrot comes into contact with to turn a little purple.
Once everything was prepared, cooking was pretty simple. I sautéed the onion and garlic for about three minutes then added the carrots, pepper, and parsnips and cooked everything for five minutes more before adding the chile powder and cumin.
While the veggies were cooking, I prepped the tomatoes, the chipotle pepper, and the adobo sauce. Following my usual pattern of not always following directions too closely, I put the three ingredients into a food processor with two and half cups of water, turned the food processor on, and learned very quickly why the recipe said to use a blender. I didn’t spray tomato juice all over the kitchen, but I did have a slight overflow problem with the food processor. My advice? Use a blender.
Once everything was blended, I added the tomato mixture to the pot along with the hominy and kidney beans. After I got everything to a boil, I put the lid on the pot and simmered the chili for 20 minutes. Once that was done, it was time to eat.
We garnished the chili with diced red onion, chopped cilantro, and sour cream and ate it with tortilla chips. It was as good as we remembered. It had a deep heat without being too spicy and a little sweetness (mostly from the parsnips). It was thick and rich and really satisfying and made for a fantastic lunch the next day.