Oh man, this week has been a busy one and we are half way through. If you work in the arts, this is the time of year that you’re really busy prepping to BE really busy in the upcoming season! Grant applications, auditions, fundraisers, short films, pop-up plays, the list goes on (Happy World Theatre Day, by the way!)
The other day I wanted something hearty and something that would be ideal for leftovers and quick meals whenever I needed it. Something really full of protein, lots of colourful veggies and something with a bit of kick.
What did I come up with? Veggie Chili! I made it in the afternoon, had it for supper that night (it’s best left to settle for a while and let the flavours do their thing), and I had leftovers for lunch the next day and stuck the rest in containers and froze it. Last night I took one of the frozen ones out, plopped it in a pot, heated it up on the stove and while it was warming I got an even better, greasy-treat idea. You know, one of those things that people may assume can’t be made meat free, but they are oh so wrong. I present to you, Chili Fries- both vegan and vegetarian options, plus the fries are baked!
Veggie Chili + Chili Fries Recipe
Here’s how you make the chili!
In a large pot, sautee, over medium heat:
-three cloves of minced fresh garlic, or powdered
-One large onion (red or white), chopped small (not too small, but chilli sized!)
-Add a generous amount of chili powder (a few tbsp), crushed red pepper flakes, some dried oregano, pepper and a bit of salt.
-Next, add one small sweet potato, washed well and diced, along with one diced green bell pepper
*Feel Free to add more peppers- this is a rough guideline and a great dish since you can really play around with what you add! I love mushrooms in this but was making it for someone who doesn’t enjoy so I omitted them.
-Rinse two cans (540ml/19 fl oz) of Mixed Beans and throw them into your pot. Give everything a good stir!
*You can definitely switch these out with whatever kind of beans you prefer, but I like ‘6-Bean Medley’ combo by presidents choice- the salt free if you can find them. They’re easy to find in many small grocery stores and to find those beans seperatley is sometimes hard depending on where you are. Make sure you get mixed beans instead of bean salad- the “salad” version has an oil/vinegar base. Otherwise, try kidney beans, white beans, chickpeas, black beans, whatever combo you can get your hands on and enjoy!
Also, you can play with how many beans you use too- always eyeball it and feel free to add a bit more if you’d like, but you may need to up your tomatoes/water if it’s not the consistency you enjoy. PLUS if you cook dried beans, that’s even better!
-Now, add one large can (796ml/28fl oz) of stewed diced tomatoes (salt free if you can) and an optional one small can (156ml) of tomato paste.
*If you find the tomatoes not enough depending on how many beans/veg you have, add extra stewed diced tomatoes. Add them gradually so that it doesn’t become soupy.
-Last but not least, add 3 tbsp of real maple syrup! It’ll give it a bit of a sweet hint that’s really nice and compliments the hot spices (think maple brown beans- which you can also add a small can of if you’re feeling up to it- just be sure they’re meat-free! No lard or bacon/sausage!)
-Let everything bubble and get tasty! Bring to a boil and then turn down your stove to a low simmer and allow to sit for an hour or so, stirring every now and then.Your sweet potato should be soft, your flavours just the way you like them (and of course adjust to your taste!), and it should be hearty and tasty!
Serve up as is, which is a really nice meal and I promise that meat-eaters will easily love this version of chilli. It’s also incredibly better for you and so colourful! Goes great with garlic bread (your favourite bread or rolls, bit of oil or vegan margarine, garlic, parsley sprinkle, bake til it gets golden). It’s also nice topped with cilantro or chopped green onions. You can also save for later or freeze (it freezes really well!). Or, you could put it aside and create the following…
Vegan Chili Fries!
You’ve got your chili, and it’s awesome. Now, let’s make some fries!
-Preheat your oven to 350. Although this is a treat and you can certainly “deep fry” them if you please, they’re seriously just as good and WAY better for you if you bake them. There is so much fried food these days, especially every take out or restaurant in many small communities, so I’d really recommend baking, even just to give it a try! I promise you’ll dig it! No need or want for a deep fryer on this blog!
-Take a few potatoes and give them a good scrub. The amount of potatoes depends on how many people you’re feeding, how big the potatoes are, and how much you love fries! Judge as you cut them and add/subtract. I used a mix of blue, red and white potatoes.
*Potatoes are one veggie that you can find ANYWHERE in newfoundland, and can easily found grown just around the corner or you can grow them yourselves! We’re an island raised on potatoes and they are just fine with growing in our rocky soil.
-Slice your potatoes in chunks or “french fry” shapes. Throw them in a larger bowl and toss with a little bit of olive or canola oil, a bit of dried rosemary if you can find it (fresh is even better) and a little bit of salt and pepper.
*don’t use too much oil, just really enough so that you can get each fry lightly coated. Also, if you want this dish spicy to compliment the chili, add some chili powder or cayenne to the fries!
-Lay your potatoes on a baking sheet flat, so that they do not overlap. Bake for 15minutes, then flip and bake for another 15 minutes. Once they’re cooked and golden, I like to turn the oven on broil and brown them up a bit for a couple of minutes, and then flip and do the same for the other side. Once they’re done, if you’ve used too much oil you may blot with a paper towel. They should look something like this!
-Serve up your fries while hot and top with the warm chili, and if you’re a cheese-eater, add a bit of grated cheddar or mozza cheese and even a sprinkle of parmesan. Garnish with chopped cilantro or green onions if you’re feelin fancy!
There you go. A nourishing and warm chili recipe, and a perfect idea for leftovers with the addition of baked home fries. Enjoy with a local beer and you’ve got yourself one wicked way to make it to the end of the week! You can do it! Great for informal dinners, treat nights or serve it on your best china and wear a party dress. Feel free to invite me over.
Hope you enjoy!