Saturday, June 07, 2008

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

I have a slow cooker I don't use very often. A neighbor gave it to us as a wedding gift several years ago, and each time I get inspired to use it, I start searching for recipes on the Internet, ending up discouraged when all the recipes seem like they're about hearty American fare I'm not always interested in eating, such as Brunswick stew. But I do like the idea of throwing a bunch of things in a pot and having them simmer slowly over a couple of hours, even if I'm still not convinced that a regular pot-on-stove couldn't do the same thing. Nonetheless, I tinkered with this easily adjustable vegetarian chili recipe from the Food Network and came up with the following. You could easily substitute other things you have on hand-- corn, different types of beans, eggplant or green pepper instead of zucchini, etc. With all the spices, this ends up being pretty flavorful.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes (you could use Mexican-flavored)
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red kidney beans, rinced and drained
1 zucchini, chopped into small pieces (could substitute red or green pepper here)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon minced pickled jalapeno (from can or jar) and/or canned chipotle pepper
1/2 cup portion butternut squash or sweet potato puree (optional)
1 Tblsp chili powder (I've been using Penzey's medium hot chili powder lately and it's sooo good)
1/2 Tblsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Your favorite cheese, shredded (sharp cheddar, mont. jack with jalapenos would be good)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put all ingredients up to Tabasco in slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, low for 6-8 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more water if necessary. Just before serving, stir in cilantro. Serve with grated cheese on top, cornbread on the side, and if you like, a dash of sour cream.

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